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IPL season 9 remains sponsor heavy despite earlier setbacks: Onspon.com study

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Mumbai: IPL season nine has been the subject of many headlines – good and bad. The betting scandal leading to two popular teams  -- Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals --   being banned; and its title sponsor Pepsi’s exit from the league didn’t help the tournaments reputation either.  Questions that rose on the tournaments fate and the sponsorship dilemma were soon answered when Chinese smart phone brand Vivo bagged the title sponsorship right for the next two seasons. Vivo plans to spend an additional Rs 200 crore on strengthening the brand association with IPL.

Now, owing to India’s performance at the T20 World Cup, sentiments around IPL Season 9 are on the positive side. A week prior to the IPL season, sponsors such as FreeCharge  and Maruti Suzuki had confirmed their associations with the league. These central level sponsorships are each estimated around Rs 10 Crore and above as per a study conducted by Onspon.com.

At a team level too, the teams are seeing an increased interest from brands, where team sponsorships are getting closed faster, whereas last year half the slots were available until about two to three days prior to the IPL. While commercials for team level sponsorship rights were expected to take a dip due to the betting fiasco surrounding IPL, teams have been in a position to bag sponsors at commercials similar to those of last years, the study revealed.

These team level sponsorship rights range from Rs 1 crore to Rs 20 crores – dependent on the logo spot on the jersey and other rights such as player imagery, merchandise options etc. A number of sponsors have in-fact also continued their association with their respective teams.

Coming to the two new IPL teams, Pune Super Giants and Gujarat Lions have also been successful in clinching lucrative sponsorship deals with each of these teams managing to rope in about 10 sponsors each. With the Pune franchise boasting of a star studded line-up, including the likes of M.S Dhoni, Faf du Plessis, Ajinkya Rahane, Kevin Pietersen etc – the Pune franchise has emerged as a strong IPL title contender and has managed to bag sponsor’s within the Rs 2 Crore to Rs 16 crore range.

The Gujarat franchise, owned by smartphone manufacturer Intex has also bagged a number of high value sponsorships ranging from Rs 1.5 Crore to Rs 15 crores.

As per Onspon.com  the reason for the increased sponsorship interests from brands in this season’s IPL can be attributed to the pre-event cricket warm-up from the multiple cricket series leading to IPL – making the brand continuity easier and effective.

Faraaz Peerbhai who leads brand partnerships at Onspon.com said, “Additionally, the low event density in the non-sport space – with few high voltage movie releases or any other major music events, making sponsorship routing to IPL more effective. The advent of early summers have also lead to buoyancy in consumption categories such as FMCG, Air-conditioners – thereby leading to pre-allocation of marketing budgets, especially for categories such as drinks, consumer durables etc,” Peerbhai added.

If one were to look into brand categpries in IPL, a number of FMCG brands such as Haldiram’s, Britannia, Mother Dairy - Deodorant brands such as Sparkle, Kama Sutra have partnered with various IPL teams. Air-conditioner brands such as Daikin, Lloyd and Sansui have also partnered with teams such as Delhi, Bangalore and Kolkata respectively.

The smartphone category as-well has taken to IPL Season 9 in a huge way – Three big smartphone manufactures entering (or re-structuring their entry) in India (Oppo, Vivo and LeEco) have allocated a significant budget to cricket and in particular IPL. They are seeking to leverage IPL to create awareness about their brand and reach out to the young audiences.

Overall, after the pre-IPL ambiguity, IPL Season 9 is seeing a massive positive upswing from sponsors and audience alike.

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