The Indian Premier League Governing Council is receptive to broadcaster Star Sports idea of rescheduling the match timings to the extent of having an overlap on the double header days. However, the trouble seems to be brewing for the IPL GC and the Board of Control for Cricket in India as the other two crucial stakeholders, Franchisees and advertisers see little “sense” in the idea.
The IPL GC though in principle has accepted the Star Sports proposal for an early start for the late matches, and delay the first match on the double header day. The idea of starting the first ties at 5.30 pm instead of 4 pm earlier, and advancing the second header by an hour to 7 pm has not gone well with some of the franchisees. Brands putting their money on the precious marketing property are not happy with the likely changes either.
Even as the IPL GC has accepted the BCCI proposal in principle, franchisees are yet to get a formal information about the “material change in IPL playing conditions”. Star Sports as the host broadcast has the right to suggest and seek changes in the broadcast and match schedule, but the franchisees remain the main stakeholders. It is mandatory for the IPL GC to seek each franchisees nod for imposing any change in the league format.
“This (Star Sports proposal to change timings) is not an overnight development. This is so unfair that governing council has considered and discussed the procedure and the key stake holders (franchisees) are not even informed formally about what could be such a major shift in IPL playing conditions. This should have been brought to our (franchisees) knowledge much earlier. This no emotional outburst. This will also have serious bearing on our commercials and game plan,” a franchisee management head told insidesport.co.
“Over the years, I have seen my team management following the other teams minutely. But that is one smalls aspect. We have made certain commitments to our commercial partners. They get the best returns for their investment from their brands on-air broadcast exposure. Tell me, why should any sponsors like their brand opportunities shared,” adds the franchisee executive.
The franchisees are more offended by the IPL GC’s approach in handling the Star Sports proposal. “The franchises are not in agreement with this proposal and will take it up with the IPL. They are in fact quite not very happy that something as important as this hasn’t even discussed with them,” Times of India has quoted sources familiar with developments as saying.
The broadcaster, which has committed ₹16,347.5 crore to bag the IPL media rights for five years, will like to target the primetime viewers for all the games. However, the market experts have a different opinion. At least, with regard to sponsors’ interests during the IPL telecast overlap scenario.
“It is quite a strange decision from a marketers perspective. Ideally, for a broadcaster, it is good to have exclusive viewership. There will be a huge overlap between the people who want to watch both the matches on a double header day in IPL. It is not like that India is playing Pakistan in one match and there is an Ashes game on the other hand. These all games (IPL) are very, very exciting. Splintering the viewership is going to be in fact a casualty here, says brand and business strategist Harish Bijoor, owner, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
“For niche players this could become an opportunity provided that the broadcast slot rates are lower for that overlap time. Only that will make sense for an advertiser. Otherwise, I don’t find a logic in the madness. Overlap time is something strange,” Bijoor added.
However, a section of market does see merit in the Star Sports and IPL GC move to reschedule the match timings. “Some of my brands have raised concern about this match overlap scenario. But, on a personal level I see a merit good enough to convince my clients,” a media buyer told insidesport business. “Sponsorship evaluation is a numbers game measured by the eyeballs a broadcast property attracts,” he added.
“I will prefer an overlap between two programmes with 4 GRP ratings, than a monopoly of a property with far less number of eyeballs. We need to be patient before reaching any conclusions,” says the market veteran. “I personally see prime time broadcast getting better consolidated viewers in spite of overlap, than say half a match action being wasted for an early start or a late night finish.”
Meanwhile, the IPL GC has clarified that the Star Sports proposal will only be implemented after franchisees formal nod.