CSK eyes 15-20 per cent revenue growth from IPL 6

MUMBAI: The economic slowdown notwithstanding, the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Chennai Super Kings (CSK) is eyeing a revenue growth of 15-20 per cent.

The franchise has a roster of 16 sponsors which includes Nissan and VGN who came on-board this year.

"We expect revenue growth of 15-20 per cent led to an extent by sponsorship. We have a roster of 16 sponsors this year," says India Cements joint president marketing Rakesh Singh.

Apart from KKR, CSK has been the only franchise whose lead sponsor Aircel has continued with the team since the inception of IPL. The franchise had also de-risked itself from slowdown by doing long-term deals.

"The good news for us is that brands have stayed on with us through the years. Aircel has been there with us from day one. Deals that we do are generally for three years and after that they get renewed," avers Singh.

Singh adds that local sponsorship and central revenue put together account for 75-80 per cent of CSK?s total revenue which last year was said to be around Rs. 1.5 billion.

"Ticket sales account for 15-20 per cent. This year there will be more seating as three more stands have opened. So there is more capacity which we expect will lead to more revenue. Licensing and merchandising accounts for around five per cent but we expect this area to grow by 30-35 per cent for us this season as we are being more aggressive on this front," reveals Singh.

The franchise has launched cricket kits this year. The main focus is Tamil Nadu. The team has tied up with Switcher, a European company owned by Tirupur-based PGC for merchandise.

The cricket gear for all age groups will be available from 15 April. These kits will include kit bags, batting gloves, leg-guard, thigh-guard, arm pad, abdomen guard and English willow bats will be sold through retail sports stores, gift shops and whole sale stores in Tamil Nadu ranging from Rs. 3800 to Rs 9900.

CSK has also launching their new range of merchandise strategically dividing them into categories such as fan gear and fashion wear. The new range includes school bags, sippers, and key chains along with a variety of home, office products and other accessories.

"Our aim is that at least every second month there should be an activity. The Chennai Super Kings cannot be just about two months. So we do things across the year that touches different segments of society," adds Singh.

As part of its on-ground activities, CSK had organised a multi discipline tournament called Super Cup before the IPL involving corporates. The franchise had also organised a cricket event with schools a few months to find a CSK junior team. It had also associated with a chess tourney as the game is very popular in Tamil Nadu.

"We feel that it is important that when the CSK brand engages with constituents it should not be only about cricket. This way CSK will be built as a sports brand," explains Singh.

For fans, there is a loyalty programme called Kings Club which has an estimated 18,000 paid members. They get to avail of special offers like meet and greet events with players, match tickets etc.

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