The Indian Premier League (IPL) is the sixth largest sports league in the world. Due to the repercussions of the restrictions imposed by the Indian government, the IPL was not only postponed but is being held in the UAE. The prelude to the IPL introduced the concept of a ‘bio-bubble’ to cricket enthusiasts across the world. As per the measures taken to enforce the bio-bubble, the interaction of players, support staff and other match officials with the larger external world would be limited. This also meant that there wouldn’t be any spectators in the stadiums. Due to these factors, there was significant uncertainty about IPL 2020 sponsors.
Vivo had signed a five year contract worth Rs 2199 crores with BCCI in 2018 for the right of title sponsorship from 2018-2022. This meant that Vivo would have to pay Rs 440 crore per season to the BCCI. But in 2020, Vivo was dropped as the title sponsor for 2020 due to the prevailing anti-China sentiment.
This put BCCI in an unenviable predicament as it had to secure a title sponsor for only this season which would last around four and a half months. Although, multiple prospective premier league sponsors expressed interest, the BCCI would be aware that it would be difficult for them to match the sponsorship amount offered by Vivo.
This is where Dream11 stepped in. In IPL 2019, Dream11 was the official partner as well as the official fantasy gaming partner of the entire IPL. Currently, Dream11 is the biggest fantasy gaming platform in the market and it was successful in bagging the title sponsorship for IPL 2020. Dream11 has paid Rs. 222 crores for the title sponsorship of IPL 2020.
Apart from Dream 11, edutech giants BYJU’s and Unacademy also placed bids worth Rs 201 crores and Rs 170 crores respectively. But Dream11 was successful in outbidding the edu-tech companies with its highest bid of a whopping Rs. 222 crores.
The BCCI has roped in Star India as the broadcast partner in 2018. Star India bought the media rights for IPL from 2018 to 2022 by paying an astounding Rs 16,347.5 crores which meant that the Rupert Murdoch led media conglomerate pays Rs 3269.5 crores per season.
It is important to note that the revenues from both the title and broadcast sponsor are collected in a central pool and BCCI shares this corpus with the IPL teams in a 60:40 ratio.
BCCI was desirous of filling the gap by raising funds via other forms of cricket sponsorships Therefore BCCI bought in Unacademy and Cred as official sponsors of IPL 2020. As per the agreement with BCCI, Unacademy will be the official partner of IPL for 3 years and they were paying a fee of Rs. 120-130 crores in total to the BCCI.
BCCI also started a discussion with the recently launched credit card bill payment app CRED, to become one of the central sponsors for the 13th edition of IPL. Ultimately, CRED agreed to the deal for IPL 2020 and this became another source of revenue for BCCI.
Multi brand sponsorships
IPL 2020 has witnessed another interesting sponsorship initiative. Earlier, a brand had to spend Rs 25 crores to Rs 50 crores on being the main sponsor of a team. However, IPL 2020 has enabled sponsors to get more bang for their buck. By spending a sponsorship amount within that range a brand can sponsor multiple teams. For example: BKT (Balkrishna Industries Ltd) has got associated with six IPL teams. Hence, rather than 6-7 brands as was the case in IPL 2019, there are 16-17 brands who are sponsoring teams this year.
IPL Team sponsorship
Each IPL team has a variety of sponsors such as shirt sponsor, associate sponsor, digital partner, merchandise sponsor, radio partner and the kit manufacturer. For instance: let us consider CSK.
Their kit manufacturer is SEVEN.
Their shirt sponsors include The Muthoot Group, India Cements, Gulf Lubricants, British Empire, Jio, Nippon Paint and Clear Shampoo.
Equitas, Boost, BKT, Dream 11, EUME and Mai Dubai are their associate sponsors
Their digital partners comprise NOVA, iB Cricket, Fanplay, Fast & Up
Their merchandise partners are ASAP, boAt, Cover Cup, The Souled Store, NZC Jewellers, Nasher Miles, Sonata, Lilliputhub and KAADOO.
Apart from the festive season, one can argue that the IPL season is vital for Indian marketers. Marketing calendars, media plans and marketing budgets across multiple brands are designed keeping the IPL schedule in mind. Similar to the NFL in the US, IPL has become a marquee event that deeply engages Indian consumers and provides unparalleled visibility to brands. Therefore, despite the absence of spectators, change in venue, and rescheduling of the event, there hasn’t been any dearth in the attention from sponsors.
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