IPL 2021 suspended: Survey indicates decline in IPL interest this year

BCCI set to incur losses of over Rs 2000 cr of the broadcast and sponsorship money earmarked for IPL 2021 which was indefinitely postponed
BCCI set to incur losses of over Rs 2000 cr of the broadcast and sponsorship money earmarked for IPL 2021 which was indefinitely postponed

IPL 2021 suspended: The suspension of IPL 2021 due to rising cases of COVID-19 inside BCCI’s pristine-looking bio-bubble has led to massive financial losses for both the board and broadcaster Star. If BCCI is set to lose over Rs 2,000 crore due to the suspension of the tournament, Star will lose out from the advertisers who shell anywhere between 100-150 crore per season. However, as per a consumer survey conducted by the Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB) and the Rediffusion Consumer Lab (Red Lab), the signs of losses were already there.

As the IPL 2021 began on April 9, IIHB and Red Lab reached out to a small group of 482 consumers (271 Males, 211 Females) asking them about their behaviour. As per the survey, from 81% positive responses to just 58% over three weeks.

Also Read: IPL 2021 Revenue Losses: BCCI, Broadcaster, Franchises to lose but players to be paid in full despite IPL postponement

The IPL has been suspended; the bio-bubble has burst. But were the signals – the negativity already visible? The Indian Institute of Human Brands (IIHB) and the Rediffusion Consumer Lab (Red Lab) had been tracking consumer sentiment for the past three weeks: the bomb dropped on the IPL almost on cue.

“Consumers are very perceptive. They are also very sensitive. Somehow there was growing discontent with the IPL. It was seen to be an extravaganza of greed with so much death and devastation all around, but fat cat players romping around hitting sixes. Not a single black band of sympathy or support, that may have reduced the anti-sentiment somewhat,” said chief mentor of IIHB Sandeep Goyal told Economic Times.

IPL 2021 suspended: Were the writings of losses already on the wall?

Should the IPL 2021 be played this year?

When the IPL 2021 began on April 9, after the first week the interest was positive with 81 per cent approving the decision while only 14% said no it should not have been. The rest were unsure.

Also Read: BCCI set to incur losses of over Rs 2000 crore due to IPL 2021 postponement

However, in the following weeks, the interest dropped and the responses were leaning towards negative with 37% opposing IPL as the country grappled with a massive surge in COVID-19 cases with oxygen shortage leading to deaths.

Week 1: Yes- 81%, No – 14%, Maybe/ Don’t know – 5%.

Week 2: Yes – 75%, No – 21%, Undecided – 4%.

Week 3: Yes – 58%, No 37%, Undecided – 5%

Should BCCI have conducted IPL 2021 overseas again?

The trend continues similarly. As the BCCI was confident of hosting the IPL 2021 in India after successfully conducting the India-England series, the responses were mostly positives with only 18% opposing to the idea. But by Week 3, 42% said the IPL should have been hosted overseas again. The trend change as COVID-19 cases were detected inside the bio-bubbles.

Week 1: Yes – 22, No – 18, Don’t care – 60%.

Week 2: Yes – 27, No – 22, Don’t care: 51%

Week 3: Yes – 42%, No – 14%, Don’t care 44%

Also Read: IPL 2021: BCCI, franchises worried, ‘more players in DC, SRH, KKR & CSK can test positive’

IPL 2021 suspended: Is IPL an escape from grief every evening amid COVID-19 crisis in India?

When the tournament started, the cases began to increase and spiralled out of control in the coming weeks. Hence, in the Week 1 survey, 86% said that it provided relief from all the grief around. But as the tournament progressed, the number dipped to 62%.

Week 1: Yes – 86%, No – 14%

Week 2: Yes – 78%, No – 22%

Week 3: Yes – 62%, No – 38%

IPL 2021 suspended: Is IPL an escape from grief every evening amid COVID-19 crisis in India?

When the tournament started, the cases began to increase and spiralled out of control in the coming weeks. Hence, in the Week 1 survey, 86% said that it provided a relief from all the grief around. But as the tournament progressed, the number dipped to 62%.

Week 1: Yes – 86%, No – 14%

Week 2: Yes – 78%, No – 22%

Week 3: Yes – 62%, No – 38%

IPL 2021 suspended: People’s interest in watching IPL dropped significantly

The interest in watching also dropped gradually as the second wave ravaged India. With reference to BARC data, the viewership of IPL 2021 declined compared to IPL 2020. From 116 million unique views in 2020, it saw a dip of 9.5%, to 105 million.

“Sentiment analysis always gives you early warning signals. It is then for you to pick up the signals and either act on them or ignore them,” said Navonil Chatterjee, head of the Red Lab.

Week 1: Watching Less – 27%

Week 2: Watching Less – 32%

Week 3: Watching Less – 38%

IPL 2021 suspended: Massive drop in watching ads during IPL

While some innovative ads entertained consumers and the celebrity in ad recall remained the same, there was a gradual drop in interest in ad attraction. From Week 1’s 84%, it dropped to just 52% in Week 3.

It indicates that brands were losing interest amongst the viewers amid the raging pandemic as India’s daily COVID-19 cases made headlines and world records at over 400,000. If the IPL 2021 had continued, it could have hurt the brands advertising during the IPL.

IPL 2021 suspended: Missing IPL, would it matter?

In Week 1, 81% of the fans said they would miss IPL if had to be postponed or suspended. In Week 2, it took a nosedive to 72% and followed it up with only 49% in Week 3. It indicates that less than half would not miss IPL if it had to be suspended.

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