With less than two months to go for the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League, Star India, the media rights holder for the cricket tournament, has signed up nine sponsors, including Vivo, Coca-Cola India, Amazon, PhonePe, Dream11 and Maruti Suzuki. Together, they have booked Rs 800-900 crore worth of advertising space. Sources in the company said Star India has set a target of Rs 3,000 crore in advertising sales from IPL this year, which would be an over 40% increase from last year’s revenue.
Gautam Thakar, CEO of Star Sports,“This is the third year of IPL for us and we had two pretty strong years in terms of both growth in viewership and growth in revenue. We will continue to expand on our learnings and focus on our getting more audience.”
IPL 13 is scheduled to start on March 29 with the final on May 24. The opening match will be played between defending champions Mumbai Indians and finalist Chennai Super Kings. While the formal schedule is yet to be announced, it is said there will be fewer afternoon matches, which usually rate significantly lower than evening matches.
For smaller businesses, Star India is running a programme that will allow them to book targeted ads on Hotstar, the broadcaster’s streaming app. Star India acquired the rights for IPL for five years in 2018 for Rs 16,347.5 crore. Since then, it has expanded coverage of the league into regional languages. Revenue climbed 35% to Rs 1,750 crore in the first year (IPL 2018) and to Rs 2,100 crore in IPL 2019. Viewership grew from over 500 million in 2017 to 805 million (TV and digital) in 2018 and 900 million last year.
The matches this season will be aired across Star Sports network in Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada and Bengali, along with a special Dugout feed for sports aficionados. On Sundays, matches will also be aired across entertainment channels including Star Gold (Hindi), Hungama (Kids), Vijay Super (Tamil), Star Maa Movies (Telugu), Star Suvarna (Kannada), Jalsha Movies (Bengali), and Asianet Plus (Malayalam).
Star India will start the IPL promotions in two weeks as part of a joint marketing campaign with the Board of Control for Cricket in India.