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IPL 2022: Franchises bet on strong growth in sponsorship revenue as league returns home with new teams

Growth in sponsorships is driven by the near-normal IPL and the large number of VC-funded, digital-first companies eying the cricket league.

March 31, 2022 / 12:29 PM IST
IPL 2022: The Chennai Super Kings are up against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL's inaugural match.(Image: IPL)

IPL 2022: The Chennai Super Kings are up against Kolkata Knight Riders in IPL's inaugural match.(Image: IPL)

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has returned to India, and its usual summer window are not the only reasons franchises are witnessing sponsorship traction. The addition of two teams – Gujarat Titans and Lucknow SuperGiants – will result in double-digit growth in overall team sponsorship revenue, experts said.

“The two new teams in IPL 2022 have added more games and brought in support from fans from two large markets – Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh,” said Lloyd Mathias, a strategist and investor. “Both these teams have raked up an impressive clutch of sponsors – Ather, Acko, boat, Meesha and Dream 11 for Gujarat Titans and Credence, Acko and The Souled Store for LSG.”

While Gujarat Titans has 15 sponsors on its debut, LSG has on-boarded eight sponsors. Overall, experts estimate a 15-20 percent increase in sponsorship revenue for franchises in the 15th edition of the cricket tournament this year.

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“IPL 15 is the first tournament post-2019 that is least impacted by the shadow of the pandemic. Both IPL 13 and IPL 14 were severely disrupted and were played to empty stadia and large parts played in the UAE,” said Mathias. “This year, the tournament returns to near normalcy and has the addition of two new teams, taking up the overall number of matches. There is naturally a growth in sponsorships across the board, driven by the near-normal IPL and the large number of VC-funded, digital-first companies eying the IPL.”

New-age tech companies

Another expert pointed out that new-age tech companies are paying more than what they did last year for team sponsorships. Mathias noted that the average increase in sponsorship revenue across franchises is estimated at 20-25 percent in Tata IPL 2022.

“We’ve had a significant increase in sponsorship revenue,” Jake Lush McCrum, COO of Rajasthan Royals, told Moneycontrol. “We had a strong year in 2021 and we’ve beaten it this year with all our partnership deals.”

He said it’s been a healthy market in terms of sponsorship, given the excitement around the tournament being back in India.

“They’re (brands) getting year-round activation. And so we’ve been able to significantly increase our revenues from the majority of our positions this year,” McCrum added.

The Mumbai Indians (MI), which has 22 sponsors this year from 18 in 2021, has witnessed double-digit growth in brand valuation and sponsorship revenue from last year, a team spokesperson said.

“Our sponsorship pool has a strong combination of established Indian brands, startups and global giants that we have built long-term partnerships with. Slice has joined us as principal sponsor for three years,” the MI spokesperson added.

Delhi Capitals’ interim CEO Vinod Bisht told Moneycontrol earlier that he expects a 20 percent increase in sponsorship in IPL 2022. He added that after finetuning their social media strategy last year, digital deals have become part of the franchise, especially with traditional media like OOH (out-of-home) communication channels going down a notch or two in terms of importance and spends.

McCrum of Rajasthan Royals noted that they are signing digital-only as well as broader partnership deals.

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“If we can have a partner who happens to own a major position and has more digital content and hence pays more for it, then that’s a positive situation for both parties,” he said.

RR has partnered this year with Meesho, Happilo and BKT, among others. Even after underperforming over the past three seasons, the team has been able to increase its sponsorship value and McCrum said that’s through the way they activate brands.

The Mumbai Indians spokesperson noted that with the evolution of new-age brands and startups, there has been strong growth in the number of digital-first companies signing on with the team.

On the overall response of advertisers for IPL 2022, McCrum said fantasy sports has always been significant across teams and it continues to grow.

“It’s great to see more global brands getting into the space and there are going to be more tech brands coming into this space in the future. We can look at a brand like Meesho, which recently became a unicorn. They can see the power of the IPL and I think more of these really smart Indian tech brands will be coming in the future, which would be great for the growth of the overall league,” he added.

Karan Taurani, senior vice-president at Elara Capital, pointed out that this year is key for summer advertisers.

“But this year there is pressure in terms of FMCG and other verticals that are struggling to scale up in terms of advertising because of higher raw material cost. So, don’t see the growth numbers to be that extravagant this time. But cryptos (cryptocurrency platforms), NFTs (marketplaces), e-commerce – they have not seen any impact,” he said.
Maryam Farooqui
first published: Mar 31, 2022 12:29 pm