Brand IPL: The juggernaut rolls on!

According to a recent American Appraisal study conducted in February of this year, the brand value of IPL has been pegged at US$ 3.2 Billion (in 2010 Brand Finance had valued it at over US$ 4.3 Billion). Considering the property is only in its 7th year, with just 8 teams as things stand now, and played over just 43 days in total, the figure is indeed staggering. Add to that is the fact that there are just a motley number of countries that play the game the world over. Compare that to the English Premiere League (kicked off in 1888), that lasts nine months of the year with and which is currently valued at US$ 12 billion. For a global sport that is played by more than 200 countries.

The numbers are truly mind numbing. There is more.

Season 7 IPL

In 2008 Sony bought the broadcast rights for the IPL for an eye popping US$ 1 billion for a 10 year period. Subsequently, (through some arm twisting and covert blackmailing), we understand the figure was increased by another US$ 200 Million to be made US$ 1.2 Billion. The IPL Broadcast now straddles the footprint including the Indian Sub Continent, Middle East, Hong Kong, the Caribbean, the UK, the USA, South Africa (somehow very under represented in cricket playing countries like Australia & New Zealand). Times Internet & Go ensure that by streaming the IPL through the web, its creating diverse, desirable and dispersed audiences. Pepsi has paid a mammoth US$ 72 million to be the title sponsor of the IPL (the earlier incumbent for the first 5 years was DLF who had got the title rights for less than US$ 50 Million). Sony, the host broadcaster has been pitching a 10 second advertising spot at about INR 4.5 lakhs this season and had reportedly earned anything between INR 900-950 Crores in advertising revenues during IPL Season 6.

Packed venues welcome the teams wherever they go. The first phase of IPL season 7 played in the UAE witnessed unabashed audience following triggering a new line of thinking (and possible opportunities for the Gulf nation) in the times to come.

Great sporting brands across the world have been built over several decades of fan following, successful performances, the ability of a team to attract great talent, and continued association from large companies, partners and sponsors. Teams like the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys, Manchester United, Chelsea, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Los Angeles Lakers and the like have become highly sought after brands by advertisers and represent brand values in the billions of dollars range.

In the IPL, brand value is derived from a wider variety of reasons keeping in mind the Indian viewer’s vernacular proclivities, cricketing knowledge and celebrity influence. You cannot put a finger to it but it seems as if the IPL is here to stay (controversy or no controversy). So roll along and enjoy it while the likes of Maxwell light up the stands or the Great Arc of Chennai (McCullum, Jadeja, Raina and Du Flessi patrolling the offside field for team CSK).