Sponsorship woes for IPL franchisees

IPL (3)


Prevailing uncertainties in Indian cricket’s corridors of power may also have a bearing on fortunes of the Indian Premier League franchisees. IPL season 10 is less than five weeks aways and as many as six franchisees are without title sponsors.

Kolkata Knight Riders, the lone IPL franchisee to make profit, has a continuing contract with its title sponsor Gionee, the Chinese smartphone brand. Whereas Reliance-owned Mumbai Indians have extended their deal with Videocon D2H by one year. But, the other six are out in the market, hunting for title sponsors.

The Rs 20,000 crore IPL brand is fearing a 25 per cent erosion in sponsorship values if industry sources are to be believed. However, the market leaders for now are avoiding to make any comments. “It is one month for IPL to start. Sense of values will come up in next fortnight. Currently we don’t comment on sponsorships. It’s too early,” says Vinit Karnik, business head at GroupM’s entertainment and sports division ESP Properties India.

The IPL Season nine was leveraged by as many as 80 brands. But, six of the top eight sponsors for year 2016 have either completed their contract terms with the franchisees or they are re-evaluating their association with the teams. Only Kolkata Knight Riders, the only IPL franchisee to register profits, still has an existing contract with its title sponsors – Gionee Mobiles, whereas Reliance-owned Mumbai Indians have renewed their agreement with Videocon D2H for the fourth consecutive year.

The teams in hunt for title sponsor are Virat Kohli-led Royal Challengers Bangalore, who were supported by Hero Cycles for the 2016 season. Delhi Daredevils, after their two-year deal with Daikin air-conditioners was over with last season, too are on a look out for the title sponsor. Sunrisers Hyderabad– UltraTech Cement, Gujarat Lions-Oxigen Wallet, Kings XI Punjab-Tata Motors Prima, all had a year-long contracts in place for 2016. There is no word on these corporate going ahead with their respective teams. Kent RO, who supported then Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Rising Pune Super Giants, too has not yet confirmed on its association with the team for season 10.

Fearing a backlash and drop in their sponsorship revenues, the teams for now are not willing to commit on their marketing and business strategies.

Also up for grabs will the Team India jersey as the contract between Star India runs only till the end of the ongoing India-Australia Test series. Star has already made it clear that it will not bid to renew the deal.