IPL 2020: Viewership Vs Advertising

The world has been amid a never seen before pandemic for the past few months, in fact, hitting almost a year in the next few months. All means of entertainment - dining out, movies, sports - stand suspended across the globe. Moreover in India, the country has been in lockdown for a majority of April, May, June (AMJ) before returning back to some action. Among the action is the Indian Premier League (IPL), country's most celebrated sporting event, which stood suspended from March and is getting back to action in September being broadcasted from UAE.

IPL Viewership and Reach Over the Years

With hardly any fresh content on TV channels (all of it is taken up by OTTs) and lack of all sporting events, the IPL is a silver lining. With people preferring to stay back home, this year's IPL could just be the biggest ever in terms of viewership. Last year, the league had 530 million viewers on TV alone and a consolidated viewership of 613 million when considering Disney+Hotstar as well.

So where do we see IPL this year? Hitting 700 mn?

IPL Viewership and Reach

IPL 2020 Advertising: Sponsorships Take a Hit

But irrespective in increasing viewership, will brands shell out monies to advertise? It again a unique situation faced in April-May-June (AMJ) this year when TV viewership was at an all-time high but there were no advertisers except a handful FMCG brands. The situation is better though, in AMJ the country was in lockdown. Even if consumers wish to act post watching an advertisement, they were not able to make purchases because of government restrictions. With government restriction easing and the festive season approaching the IPL could be the perfect platform for brands. However, the sponsorship figures tell a different story.

After the anti-China sentiments Vivo, the title sponsor of the league pulled out this year. The title sponsor is now with Dream 11 (a simulated gaming app which ironically has Chinese investments). The title sponsorship went to Dream 11 for INR 222 Crore compared to INR 400 Cr which Vivo was coughing up every year. When title sponsorship took a 50% hit it is obvious for all other brands to benchmark this discounting. 

Considering, Star India is paying around INR 16000 Crores for a 5-year contract (approx INR 3200 crores per year) to broadcast the league, if advertisers don't shell out their budgets, the IPL will be a loss-making title for the broadcaster.

Will increased viewership and plunging valuation of the league be a deal that brand would want to catch up on? Drop-in your opinion in comments.


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