The revenue model of IPL relies on the sponsorship and media rights. There are different types of sponsors in IPL. There are sponsors whose contract is with BCCI and there are sponsors which are directly linked with franchises. BCCI decide and announce title sponsors, official broadcaster, official digital streaming partner, official partners, umpire partner and strategic timeout partner. And franchisees get kit sponsors, the main sponsor, principal sponsors and other sponsors. All the sponsors and partners are given different roles and areas where they can display themselves. BCCI associate all the partners with one or the other thing on the cricket field.
Types of sponsors
Very first title sponsor of IPL was DLF. So the first season of IPL was known as DLF IPL. From DLF IPL, it became Pepsi IPL. And then from Pepsi, sponsorship was passed on to Vivo. Thus, the name changed to Vivo IPL. The term of title sponsors is decided by the BCCI. There is a process to get title sponsorship of IPL and that process also is decided by the BCCI.
There are different partners who sponsor different types of awards. There is an award for maximum sixes, there is an award for a good catch, there is an award for stylish shots and there is an award for out of the box and innovative thinking. All these awards are sponsored by official partners of IPL.
Since 2008, we have heard about a lot of awards like Yes bank maximum sixes award, fbb stylish player of the day, Vodafone player of the match etc. Presentation ceremony after every match starts by thanking the partners and awards are given to the players by announcing the name of partner sponsoring the particular award. In this way, official partners are assigned different roles and areas (to represent) on the field. Official partners get their visibility by sponsoring different departments of the game. The process and the term of official partners are decided by the BCCI.
Umpire partner is the lesser known term. First, let’s understand what does that means. It is simple. There is a name of a brand on the backside of on-field umpire’s uniform. That brand is the umpire partner. The name of that brand is noticed when bowler starts his run up and it can be noticed until the ball is delivered. The name of the brand is there on the front side as well. And the same brand name is displayed on the big screen of the stadium when the decision goes to the third umpire. Royal Challenge has been the umpire partner of IPL for a long time. The term of umpire partner is also decided by the BCCI. It is one of the important places for marketing as the umpire’s backside is visible to viewers till the last ball of the match.
Strategic time-out partner
“And it’s time for ceat tyres strategic time out.” We hear this sentence four times in a match. Here, the tyre brand ceat is strategic timeout partner of IPL. Strategic time out is of two and half minutes. It is given only in IPL. During the timeout, the name of partner is displayed on the big screen on the ground along with the timer. Ceat tyres has been strategic timeout partner most of the time since 2008.
Franchisees get sponsors on the basis of their team and their connections. Sponsors evaluate a lot before investing in any team. Sponsors before investing consider the strength of the team, brand value of players, team’s potential, the owners of the franchise and current form and how many times the team has won the IPL. Franchisees also get different kinds of sponsors.
The sponsors whose name is in middle of the front side of jersey are the main sponsors of the franchise. Nokia has been the main sponsor of KKR since 2008. When the operations of Nokia were shut down KKR’s main sponsors changed to Gionee. KKR got the sponsorship of Nokia because Shahrukh Khan was the brand ambassador of Nokia. There is a trend in main sponsors. If the team is winning then they won’t shift from one franchise to another. The team which has not won even a single trophy, you will see new sponsors on their jerseys every time. When the team looses the title, main sponsors don’t get much.
Franchisees try to fetch big sporting brands as kit sponsors. Brands like Reebok, Adidas and Puma were sponsors of the teams in 2008 but with the passage of time, those went away and companies owned by the players or the small Indian brands took their place.
Principal sponsors and other sponsors
The IPL jersey is not covered by only one sponsor. Principal sponsors are those brands whose logo you see on the rest of the kit. You witness the logo parallel to the team logo. You see the logos of the brands on the shoulders of the jersey. Those are the principal sponsors. They launch an advertisement campaign during the IPL featuring the players. Sponsors promote themselves with that advertisement campaign throughout the year.
General or common sponsors
This kind of sponsor sponsors all the eight teams and create advertisements with the players of all the teams. Kingfisher is one of such sponsors. ‘King of good times’ used to be the name of Kingfisher’s campaign. Jio is the latest example of a general or common sponsor and ‘Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan’ is the name of Jio’s campaign. They promote themselves during every match of the season as they create advertisements with the players of all the teams.
Risk of sponsors
Sponsors invest a huge amount of money behind the sponsorship of IPL. So they take a huge amount of risk with this investment. If their team is winning then they gain the sales as the people take interest in every sponsor related to that team. If their team is loosing then their visibility decrease as the fans starts ignoring that franchise.
In this way, the game of sponsorship is played in IPL.