Experts believe the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a beneficiary to 'brand IPL' in some ways
In normal times, it wouldn't have occurred to a franchise to look for a 'hygiene partner'. But to their credit, the Indian Premier League (IPL) teams have managed to tackle the coronavirus-induced uncertainty with a straight bat.
Before the start of this year's edition, there were reports of some IPL franchises struggling to ink deals according to their liking, which was exacerbated by the straightjacketing related to association with brands having Chinese connections.
Delhi Capitals recently announced that it has been able to match last year's revenues, thanks to the spate of sponsorship deals signed leading to the tournament.
It reflects the sentiment among the stakeholders and they have been buoyed by the tremendous response of advertisers and mind-boggling TV viewership numbers.
Jagdeep Kapoor, brand guru and chairman and managing director, Samsika Marketing Consultants, believes the COVID-19 pandemic has proved to be a beneficiary to 'brand IPL' in some ways.
"IPL as a brand has been able to get very strong immunity and that has been possible because of three factors. Firstly, IPL is played on screens – TV, mobile handsets, laptops, etc. Secondly, even if star sponsors stayed away, new brands have stepped up, and it has been a dream run for them. For instance, Dream11 has also been able to use this opportunity to get new users. It has been very silly of big companies to stay away from the IPL. Thirdly, cricket is followed like a religion in the country and since everyone is staying at home, it has added to brand IPL's popularity. The IPL is a grand success, and it doesn't matter whether they are playing in India or overseas," he told Moneycontrol.
With the next edition of the IPL scheduled to be held in March next year, are there chances of viewer fatigue creeping into the the popular T20 tournament?
Saurabh Uboweja, managing partner, BOD Consulting, doesn't think it will be a factor.
"If it is played in March, I don't think viewer fatigue will be there," he told Moneycontrol.
On some big companies staying away from associating with the tournament this year, Uboweja said since there are other properties like Bigg Boss and Kaun Banega Crorepati, they won't be missing out on the visibility quotient.
"The nature of sponsors and advertisers is changing rapidly. New-age companies like Paytm, CRED, Dream11 have come in as that's where money is coming in. Traditional big companies are answerable to shareholders and in this environment, they have to be prudent with their marketing expenses," he added.Follow our coverage of the coronavirus crisis here