ICC World Cup next year has cramped the window of the Indian Premier League. If that were not enough, a clash of dates with the general elections are feared to compel the Board of Control for Cricket in India, or the IPL governing body, to shift some of the games out of the country.
However, the IPL stakeholders are not finding the “only likely option” for the IPL 2019 to be a viable option. Host broadcasters, franchisees and even the sponsors find it hard to get the right ROIs if an IPL game is not played in India.
A day after the BCCI has dropped a hint about persuading the Central Government to find a way for hosting the entire league in India, nations business daily Economic Times has talked to several key stakeholders and market analysts about the possible impact on the league games played overseas.
IPL’s leading advertisers, their media-buying representatives and the host broadcaster all are for the entire league games at home.
“Advertisers are unable to leverage home ground advantage when matches are shifted overseas. IPL being the biggest sports property of the year, advertisers naturally want to leverage the best from it” the ET report has quoted says Sam Balsara, chairman, Madison Group, which buys media for Godrej Group, Titan and Asian Paints, among others.
Any overseas game will escalate the production and broadcast costs while the franchisees are forced to take a hit on on-grounder advertisement revenues. The BCCI is keeping a close watch on the possible election dates before confirming the IPL schedule.
“In a scenario that some matches of the IPL move out and if the timing of the matches is protected to coincide with Indian prime time viewership, the broadcast revenues may not be impacted much,” said Ashish Bhasin, chairman of Dentsu Aegis Network, which represents large advertisers such as Maruti, Mondelez and Mastercard, has told the business daily.
“But the leverage of the home ground, which advertisers benefit from, will most certainly be compromised. Overall excitement levels will go down if some matches of the tournament move out; this impacts on-ground business in pubs and bars, besides other related events.”
“The IPL is among the biggest advertising properties of the year, and if matches are held out of the country, it definitely impacts us as the local buzz,” addes Parle Products category head Mayank Shah. “This has been the case the last two times some matches of the tournament were held out of the country”
Parle was among the bigger advertisers of the IPL last season.
When the IPL was moved to South Africa in 2009, advertisers like Reebok and Havells slashed their allocations for the league. While sports gear maker Reebok reworked its on-ground promotion budget, home appliances maker Havells India had cancelled on-ground promotions altogether.
In 2014, some of the IPL matches were shifted to the UAE. This time around, too, the threat looms large of a part the league game either being scheduled in South Africa or the UAE. The BCCI on its part has done recces to host the game overseas in a worst case scenario, while it continues to build its case for hosting the IPL games in the States where elections do not clash with the match dates.