June 11, 2013

The IPL's credibility is hit, but what about its revenue?

Brand experts believe the fixing scandal has affected the value of the league and how advertisers will view it, but that it hasn't threatened its viewership

The recent spate of bad news related to the IPL has raised questions about its viability and credibility, perhaps even putting into doubt its immediate future. The IPL's penchant for controversy was long seen as a plus - on the grounds that any publicity was good publicity - and even its strength. But the gravity of the current situation - allegations that some players and team owners have indulged in corrupt practices - is unlike anything the league has had to tackle so far.

"The brand has definitely been damaged," says Samir Phadnis, director and chief operating officer of Next Level Media Communication, a PR firm that operates in sport. Phadnis says he "won't be surprised - and I am sure most of the fans too won't be - if one of the major sponsors pulls out" as a fallout of the controversy.

Santosh Desai, the chief executive officer of Future Brands, a brand management firm, stresses on the fact that this time the allegations have been made against not just players but also an umpire and team owners, and says the corruption scandal gets "into the heart of IPL". "So potentially it can upset the viewer or a sponsor so much that he can lose his confidence in the product. One party being set aside doesn't affect the overall brand much, but if many stakeholders are offended, the credibility of the brand is bound to suffer in the long run."

While most experts are convinced that the brand of the IPL will take a severe hit, not many feel it will affect the viewership. "Even in the middle of all the arrests and accusations, the IPL 6 final was sold out and the ratings were almost as much as the previous seasons," says Indranil Das Blah, chief operating officer of CAA Kwan, a talent management agency.

While last year's final had a rating of 8.92, this year's had 6.9, though part of the drop is attributed to the digitisation of the cable-TV business in Indian cities, a work in progress that left many viewers without access to subscription channels. Reports in Hindustan Times state that the revenues for the official broadcaster, MSM, rose nearly 50% this year to Rs 900 crore (approx US$154 million), a change from 2012 when revenues were calculated at Rs 650 crore (approx $111 million). The newspaper reported the change was driven by the broadcaster lowering ad rates by 20%.

The contrast between the IPL's image taking a knock while ratings and ad revenues stayed high is guided by factors like ad spots being paid for in advance and news of the spot-fixing scandal breaking only ten days before the scheduled close of the league. The IPL has been able

Amol Karhadkar is a correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Sunil_Canada on June 17, 2013, 21:09 GMT

    Although there is opportunity for improvement in anything you do and IPL is no exception. People may hate me for this but I must admit I love everything about IPL, glamour, cheer leading, and the game. Although I am 100% against betting (until it's legal), fixing but the fact that there is so much betting & fixing in IPL prove how popular the tournament is or there will not be such large scale betting. I am happy that authorities are trying to curb it (let's give harsh punishment to offenders). Can they remove them completely? Never. I dont care & dont want to complain like most people do. If you dont like dont watch. The so called IPL haters watch it more than people like me. 20-20 is here to stay and it proves from the spectators in tests vs ODI vs 20-20. I dont care if it's not so technical like tests matches. Things need to change with time. If people dont like, it will die. if people like it, you or I cannot kill it. Long live 20-20 and IPL along side tests & ODI.

  • manojabcdefg on June 12, 2013, 10:52 GMT

    The only emperor-y dont u stop watching IPL instead.they cant change entire ipl for d sake of u

  • Nutcutlet on June 11, 2013, 22:39 GMT

    @Chebolu Srinivas: what an astounding remark! I fail to understand your point unless you are confusing IPL (the cricketainment with glitzy add-ons, including criminal activity) with cricket, the great & glorious game.

  • dummy4fb on June 11, 2013, 7:19 GMT

    I have never seen cricinfo commentators or editors writing positively about cricket. "Some" of the commentators even write negatively about some matches saying this is boring and its better to see something else than this . Since this is a cricket site, its better to have those who are interested and passionate about cricket.

  • crindex on June 11, 2013, 6:37 GMT

    Along with IPL, Indian Media's credibility is also hit with sensation mongering media with no scruples.

  • TheOnlyEmperor on June 11, 2013, 5:19 GMT

    There are a lot of things that require cleaning up... 1. Stop Cheer leaders in the TV studios... Why would any parent want their children to see women dance in skimpy clothes when listening to 'cricket experts'? 2. Stop players outdo each other with their neurotic dances after a wicket falls. The true fan wants his icons/players to be well behaved. 3. The dance promo... I found the Bollywood item number "jumping japang..." in your face, lacking class and downright obnoxious. Don't bring down IPL to the level of a 3rd rate Bollywood movie. 4. Camera angles : Keep the camera on the ball and the running between the wickets ( use the frame split being used in the current Champions Trophy) instead of unnecessarily showing the bowler's face. 5. The cricketers are the celebrities, not the team owners. You don't have to keep showing them, unless there's a pretty face. 6. Cut out the strategic time-outs and ensure each T20 inning is played within 70 mins! This will cut down betting!

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