Amidst growing demand for suspension, the Indian Premiere League did make it to its seventh edition this April. The first leg of the tournament, which was to be played in the UAE is over and the IPL is back in India. Sponsors who were waiting for this, have now started releasing big campaigns and initiatives to increase the buzz around the tournament. Despite the ongoing controversy and cloud of uncertainty - TV viewership for the first 23 matches has been the same as last year and sponsors continue to keep faith.
The seventh edition of the Indian Premier League kicked off on 16th April - but it wasn't just the usual glitz and glamour, but controversy and uncertainty around the tournament which dominated the headlines. As demand for suspension grew louder with allegations of spot fixing, the Supreme Court of India appointed former India captain Sunil Gavaskar as interim BCCI President.
Since then 32 games have been played and the tournament is back in India. As far as the viewership is concerned, the opening match notched up a higher rating this year and the average rating of the first 23 matches stands at 3.25 - same as the TVR notched up by the IPL 6 after 23 matches.
This is good news for Pepsi who spends nearly 80 crore rupees every year on title sponsorship. The cola giant claims that it got ten times the return on investment on IPL 6 and says that the UAE leg had no impact since it is an important market for the company. While Pepsi's new logo will get a big push, the company will also be looking to strengthen brands like 7UP and Mountain Dew in regions they are strong in.
Vodafone, which renewed its sponsorship last year for around 30-35 crore rupees per year, is also the co-presenting broadcast sponsor this year. The telecom brand credits the tournament for driving stronger brand connect with consumers, especially on social media. And while it will be increasing the number of on ground initiatives, now that the IPL is back in India, Vodafone says that the UAE leg has not impacted response.
STAR India which bagged the sponsorship rights for around 20 crore rupees per year last year says that IPL 6 helped increase it's viewership base to include the youth. STAR, which upped its sports programming after a successful relaunch last year, is also streaming the tournament on starsports.com this IPL. And it is banking on this campaign to add to the buzz.
Broadcast sponsor Havells which has been associated with the IPL since the first edition is back again. It says that despite the consistent drop in television ratings, it continues to back the cash rich league because of it's growing reach. Karbonn mobiles, which was an on ground sponsor for IPL 4 and 5 is back this year as the co-presenting broadcast sponsor. The 5 year old mobile phone maker says it continues to back the IPL because of it's unparalleled viewership.
With the tournament back in India and only one phase of polling to go, one can expect the buzz around the IPL to pick up. And while sponsors who will be escalating marketing efforts are satisfied , especially with the viewership, we believe that smiles would have been broader if the IPL had not been ridden controversy.
Watch Storyboard's Pavni Mittal speak to sponsors to understand more about why they are excited with the response to IPL 2014.
Updated Date: May 14, 2014 10:19 AM