banner image banner image

Adgully Exclusive | The halo around Brand IPL diminishes: Experts

After Sahara broke all ties with BCCI including the Pune's IPL team there are other stories brewing up and that may not be good for India's most expensive sporting event. It's evident that TRPs are dropping year after year and now speculations are MAXX Mobile which is one of the leading sponsor of the tournament is planning to pull out of the sporting event.

We also hear from sources that Vodafone the leading on-air sponsor is planning to re-negotiate their deal with the broadcaster. When Adgully contacted Vodafone, the telecom giant refused to comment on the matter. Even our email quarry sent to MSM did not elicit any response.

IPL 2012 is already creating lots of ripples and with all these not-so-good stories, the moot question we are forced to ask in this grim situation is, has Brand IPL taken a beating? Adgully seeks opinions from distinguished experts:

Ayaz Memon, senior journalist and cricket expert, said, "Every controversy will dent the brand but whether it is tenable or not that remains to be seen. The game has certain fundamental issues which is affecting the brand and that needs to be settled down. IPL has been a successful brand so far and so its value needs to be protected. Governance issues are becoming paramount which are upholding the reputation of the game. There have leagues around the world and they too have issues but when governance issues are involved that should be ironed out."

There is no franchisee in the governing body. Memon recommends that a chosen representative from all franchisees should be a part of the governing body because then only the interests of the franchisees would be safeguarded and now it is becoming free for all. IPL format has been appealing and so it has built a perception about itself and so unless it rectifies the air, the game might get affected.

Memon further added, "The IPL has been enormous and going forward the governance issues should be ironed out."

Sanjay Tripathy, executive vice-president and head, marketing and direct channels, HDFC Life Insurance, said, "Yes, it is getting affected. Players are brands and they are not doing well. One team has pulled out and foreign players would also get affected as earlier they wanted to mark their career in IPL but now with the uncertainty of the format they would find it difficult. Majorly three things would get affected; there will be uncertainty in the franchising, then there would be inability in terms of pulling the crowd to the venues and also sponsors would get affected.

He further added, "Any kind of controversy would mark the equity of the game. Also brand custodians of IPL have to see how they can take the stake holders in confidence. IPL has got a strong fan following and since one team is not there, there might be uncertainty and lack of confidence within the payers and hence there will be difficulty while drawing the attention of the fans."

On asking about the future, he said, "there has to be transparency. The focus should be on long term brand building. It is truly an international property so we need to work on strengthening it rather playing with it."

Anil Singh, Managing Director, Procam International said, "Yes, it is unfortunate that such a scandal has happened. Anybody would have issues and litigations and this would also draw negative forces. But IPL is a wonderful format it is one of the best avatars of cricket. There will be a little fatigue but will not impact that badly. IPL fever may not be high but eventually it will settle down."

Commenting about the future, Singh said, "They need to iron out their problems and issues but also should address other issues associated with it. Money needs to be allocated as it's a winning property so going forward it should be nurtured.

Nabankur (Nobby) Gupta, Founder CEO, Nobby Brand Architects & Strategic Marketing Consultants and Independent Director on Board for many companies said, "It is not an issue of IPL but Cricket fever is hurting because of the dismal performance. People recently hate the game but it is a form of sweet hatred. Currently the game is facing a lot of anticipation and an adequate of curiosity and anticipation is seen from the management's and the sponsors' side. The brand value of IPL will drop temporarily. "Cricket and bollywood will never die.'"

Unni Krishnan, MD, Brand Finance, India said, "All this is not new. Disturbance in the ecosystem of IPL has always been there. Trust flow among stake holders is at stake. Also characteristics of immediate gratification have been seeping in the IPL fabric. This discrepancy has been happening since a while and so it is not surprising at all to see somebody backing out who has stood behind the game since long. The owners are not working on win-lose configuration. They need to look deeper inside the problems."

"You can't damage one of the best entities in the fields of sports. They need to fix it. Since it is drawing negative forces and all this will heal with time," he added.

Harish Bijoor, Brand-strategy specialist & CEO, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc., said IPL has taken a beating for sure. Every successive IPL exercise, except the second one, has seen its equity getting eaten into. This year's fracas and fiasco on sponsorship moneys is a direct outcome of this key issue. The brand has lost its zing and has not been successful enough in building on its early-base."

With so much speculation doing the rounds, it's a sticky wicket that BCCI has gotten itself into. There are reports that Sahara and BCCI might talk things over but given the sequence of events that have taken place over the years, it will be a tough match between BCCI and Sahara to keep the brand IPL alive. | By Aanchal Kohli [aanchal(at)]

More in Exclusives