'Sponsorship rates have reduced by 20 per cent' : Mohit Burman - Kings XI Punjab co-owner

Kings XI Punjab, the Mohali team for Indian Premier League (IPL), was bought for $76 million by Bombay Dyeing deputy MD Ness Wadia, actress Preity Zinta, Dabur India director Mohit Burman and Apeejay Surrendra Group chairman Karan Paul.

The four shareholders together formed KPH Dream Cricket Private Limited, the holding company of Kings XI Punjab.

Kings XI Punjab is eyeing sponsorship revenues while cutting down on marketing expenses.

In an interview with Anushree Bhattacharyya, Burman talks about how the economic downturn is going to upset the revenue targets of the team franchisees.


Since Kings XI Punjab did not go for three-year sponsorship deals, how difficult has it been to retain them for the second IPL edition?

Spice Telecom is very much on board as our title sponsor. We are in the final stage of negotiations with Coca-Cola as our pouring partner. Kotak, Provogue and 9X, however, are not there this time.

As for new deals this year, we have signed up with United Spirits while Reebok is our apparel sponsor. We will be closing two more deals in the next four to five days. Overall, we are looking at signing eight to nine sponsors this year.

Has the downturn in the economy forced sponsorship rates to fall?

The whole world has changed and overall sponsorship rates have reduced by 20 per cent. We thought we were better off than those team franchisees who had gone in for three-year sponsorship deals. We felt we would be able to command higher sponsorship rates after the build-up from the first IPL tournament. But amid the economic downturn, the teams who signed three-year deals seem to be the smarter ones.

Does this mean that the revenue targets have gone awry?

Since the tournament went off on a high note last year, we were under the impression that we would break even this year. However, looking at the present situation, I don't think that franchisees will be able to break even before 2012. Most franchisees will not be able to make a profit this year, although the tournament will continue to be a success.

The fact that the IPL is held after a long gap doesn't help matters. Globally, leagues are played for eight to nine months with a short break, providing sponsors a continuous flow of events.

Where do you see most of your revenues coming from?

We hope to make more from our sponsorships, ticket sales and merchandising. This should account for over 60 per cent of our total revenues this year, unlike in the inaugural edition where the maximum came from the central pool. We also hope to get our act right on the ticketing sales front this year.

Do you plan to decrease the ticket prices to pack more audiences into the stadium?

We already have a pricing strategy. The ticket prices range between Rs 150 to Rs 6000, addressing different segments of audiences. But this year we are going to be very strict in terms of ensuring that people who wish to watch the matches do pay for the tickets.

Have you lined up your licensing and merchandising strategies?

For apparel licensing, we have already tied up with Reebok. We will be soon announcing our partner for making accessories like key chain, mugs, etc.

Have you trimmed your marketing expense this year?

We are bringing down our marketing cost to Rs 35 million, from Rs 50 million last year. The initial costs in building up a brand are obviously higher. For example, we made a video with Daler Mehndi last year - and that obviously increased our marketing budget. We don't see such a requirement for making another video this year.

'Since the tournament went off on a high note last year, we were under the impression that we would break even this year. However, looking at the present situation, I don't think that franchisees will be able to break even before 2012'

What role will Preity Zinta play to promote the franchisee this year?

We have already started our marketing initiatives through the King XI Punjab Cup. We had also sponsored the Manali winter festival in Punjab. This year we will be concentrating more on ground level activities in our catchment areas.

Preity Zinta is one of the owners and she is welcome to play whatever role she desires. She has already contributed a lot last year and as the tournament gets closer, I am sure she will help us in our marketing activities.

What was the idea behind organising the Kings XI Punjab Cup?

The idea is to reach out to the people of our catchment areas which include Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, etc. At the same time, we want to promote the game of cricket at the grass root level. Since we have a coach and some of the best players from the world, we want to nurture young talent.

A few franchises have partnered with TV channels in search of cheer leaders. What are your plans?

We have got plans, but at this moment we are really concentrating on ground activities. Our idea is that instead of doing national hoity-toity shows on TV, we should concentrate on building the brand in our own locality. We believe that if we really want to make our franchise work, then we need to get closer to our fans and get them more involved with the team.

Are you looking at beginning a cricket academy as Ness Wadia said that the franchisee job is to acquire and groom new players?

We are setting up an academy and for that we have already got an academy coach. We should be able to roll out the academy a few weeks before the tournament.

Will Brett Lee's injury affect your team's performance?

I believe Lee will be fit to play for the tournament. We have, however, crafted a team keeping in mind the fact that Lee may not be able to play. Which is why we added West Indian pacer Jerome Taylor and Ravi Bopara.

You got England's Ravi Bopara for $450,000, three times his starting price of $150,000. Would you call this an intelligent investment, looking at the present market scenario?

Kolkata Knight Riders bought Mortaza at a very high rate. So was that an intelligent investment? Every team has to decide on their player investments, keeping many things in mind. While it is true that Bopara was expensive, it is a fact that we needed an all-rounder. And there were two other franchisees who were bidding for him. I believe Bopara would have gone for higher if other franchisees had not run out of money.
With the dates of the Lok Sabha polls coinciding with some of the IPL matches, how would franchisees be impacted if venues were changed?

The IPL committee had asked the franchisees to create a back-up plan. Franchisees have an option to play in one or two grounds in the nearby areas. Rescheduling, thus, will not affect the plans of the franchisees.

Latest Reads
Republic TV to track real-time data for Gujarat elections

MUMBAI: Republic TV has partnered data-science company Gramener to track real-time data, along with analysis, during the Gujarat elections. According to a release sent by Republic TV, “Gramener will help enhance the visual look both on-air and on Republic’s digital platforms to present the data in...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Nakul Chopra is new BARC chairman

MUMBAI: Nakul Chopra, currently president of Advertising Agencies Association of India (AAAI) and senior advisor of Publicis Communications, has been elected as the next chairman of BARC India. Chopra succeeds Viacom18 group CEO Sudhanshu Vats, who has completed his one-year tenure as chairman.

Television TV Channels Viewership
Nitin Kukreja joins iQuest

Former Star India sports head Nitin Kukreja has joined iQuest Enterprises as its chief executive officer. Kukreja had left Star in March this year. IQuest is an enterprise of Nimmagadda Prasad, the former owner of the Maa TV group, who has multiple business interests ranging from infrastructure to...

Television TV Channels Sports
Sun TV's unassailable lead continues, while Zee TV leads Hindi across genre

BENGALURU: The Sun network's flagship Tamil general entertainment channel (GEC) Sun TV continued its lead in ratings across all GECs on Indian television for week 48 of 2017 (25 November to 1 December 2017) according to Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) weekly ratings data

Television TV Channels GECs
Republic TV, BTVI join hands for budget coverage

MUMBAI: Republic TV, spearheaded by Arnab Goswami, and Business Television India (BTVI) have entered into an alliance for content and programming around Union Budget 2018. The Republic TV- BTVI alliance promises to offer viewers a distinctive experience.

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Mairu Gupta and the art of building the NBA in India

MUMBAI: For basketball fans worldwide, the US National Basketball Association (NBA) represents the mecca of the sport. But in India, the NBA has had its task cut out, what with cricket presenting a near impenetrable line of defence.

Television TV Channels Sports
CNN-News18 'Indian of the year' 2017 special Telecast on 9 and 10 December

MUMBAI: The awards night of the annual and flagship initiative of CNN-News18, ‘Indian of the Year – 2017’ will be telecasted on the 9 and 10 of December at 9:30 PM on the channel. The initiative, whichrecognizes and awards the exceptional contribution and achievements of the iconic Indian citizens...

Television TV Channels News Broadcasting
Music channels bet on shows to boost viewership

MUMBAI: Seems like music channels are playing second fiddle to online music platforms when it comes to playing tracks. In an attempt to grab more eyeballs, pure-play music channels on television are moving away from the music content and focusing more on the youth-centric shows.

Television TV Channels Music and Youth
Zee TV leads Hindi GECs in week 48 of Barc ratings

MUMBAI: Zee TV emerged as the leader among Hindi general entertainment channels (urban + rural) dethroning Zee Anmol, according to Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC) all-India data for week 48.

Television TV Channels GECs

Latest News

Load More

Sign up for our Newsletter

subscribe for latest stories