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Multi Screen Media ropes in early sponsors for IPL at 10% higher rates

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MUMBAI: Aiming at growth in a slowing economy, Multi Screen Media (MSM) has roped in early sponsors for the IPL at rates that are 10 per cent higher than the previous year.

Vodafone, Pepsi, Tata Photon and Idea are the four advertisers who have returned, indicating faith in the Indian Premier League (IPL) despite the brand value of some of the Indian cricketing icons being eroded due to their poor performance in Australia.

Co-presenting sponsors are coughing out around Rs 680-700 million and associate sponsors Rs 480 million each, according to sources.

The fifth edition of the IPL is obviously gaining from a lean cricketing calendar year. The cricket World Cup was also there last year, just preceding the IPL.

According to a media buyer, telecom companies are looking at this event in a big way this year. "Last year, you had the cricket World Cup just before the IPL which affected interest. This year there is no such issue. The Asia Cup which takes place just before the IPL is a much smaller event," he explains.

The IPL that kicks off on 4 April will still have to counter a tough economy when companies are cutting down on their ad spends. While not revealing any client names or targets, MSM president networks sales, licensing and telephony Rohit Gupta is hopeful of managing some sort of growth. At the same time, he concedes that it is a challenge managing to do this level of revenue.

The IPL, which saw a dip in ratings last year, will be marketed heavily this year. Says Gupta, "At the franchisee meeting in Goa, the stakeholders were clear that there is a need to push up the ratings. You will definitely see more buzz around the event. A bigger push will be made compared to last year, not just by Max but by all the stakeholders. With no World Cup, the IPL will also have have a clearer run this year."

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