“Mass advertising can help build brands, but authenticity is what makes them last. If people believe they share values with a company, they will stay loyal to the brand.”
- Howard Schultz
The IPL has seen many ups and downs over its 7 year journey so far. From players being slapped, to being caught trying to get into the pants of the cheerleaders, the league has seen it all. Some called it the bastardisation of cricket as we once knew, yet others felt that the IPL was the death of ‘quality’ cricket. The league that taught many a youngster the dreaded ‘F’ word also managed to capture the imaginations of millions of people across the globe. Nothing in the history of Indian entertainment has ever come close to this multi-cultural bazaar!
So, 7 years on, what has the IPL been able to achieve? Apart from being the biggest cricketing property, has IPL actually been able to create any ripples in the International sporting arena? Starting from a dizzying TRP of 5.5 at its peak in the first season, it has steadily fallen over the years to meander in the 3 -3.5 mark over the last season or two. This, logically, should have seen the spot rates for ad slots also go down! But, that is where it took a U-turn. The numbers are pretty surprising. Whereas advertisers paid around Rs. 4.5-4.75 lakhs for a 10 second slot during the league games, this number shot up to Rs. 18-20 lakhs for the final! Well, it’s pretty obvious that the finals manage to garner more viewership, and, hence the inflated figure. But where the surprise lies, is the jump in this figure from the last couple of years. The spot rates went from Rs. 10 Lakhs in the finals of IPL 5 to Rs. 15 Lakhs in IPL 6. So, essentially, even though the TRP of the ‘show’ has been steadily going down, it’s a brand that still can’t be ignored by the masses, and how!
Let’s look at some more figures to understand the value of IPL in the global scenario. Before the start of the 7th edition, the IPL was valued at $3.2 billion. Pretty decent, you’d say. Now, let’s compare it to some other numbers from global giants. Real Madrid F.C. (a club, not a league) were valued at $3.4 billion in 2014. Surely, the popularity that football commands is leagues ahead of cricket, but can the IPL catch up? Take a look at this number – the EPL was valued at $12 billion in 2010. So, how long will it be before the IPL can catch up – and indeed – leave behind its footballing counterparts?
What the IPL has done so far is really praise-worthy. However, where it goes from here is what remains to be seen. Has it already managed to peak or can it manage its reputation and emerge as a strong brand with ethos? Or will it just go with the flow and finally lead to decay?