In its decade-long journey, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has not just become a favourite platform for advertisers but also reached such a zenith that no conversation is complete without discussing the annual 20-20 tournament. The frenzy cuts across gender and geographies. According to a 2017 report by media planning agency GroupM’s sports arm, ESP Properties, women constitute 41 percent of the audience watching the IPL.
It doesn’t come as a surprise, therefore, that the IPL, at the end of the 43rd match, has already garnered a cumulative reach of 386.3 million viewers on television (according to data from the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC), vis-à-vis last year’s cumulative reach of 361 million viewers for the entire tournament. It remains the most watched and top rated product on Indian television.
The matches are being broadcast on Sony MAX, Sony SIX and Sony ESPN.“The phenomenal response we’re seeing from fans across various platforms is testimony to the IPL’s enduring and yet still-growing popularity. We have worked extremely hard to ensure the landmark 10th season of the IPL is bigger and better than any before. From the new records being set each week and the trend only set to accelerate heading into the playoffs, I am confident that IPL 10’s success will surpass that of any season that has come before,” says Rahul Johri, CEO, BCCI.The viewership data, released in early May, by its official broadcaster Sony Pictures Networks India (SPN), states that the tournament’s viewership is at 22.3 million average impressions (people who viewed an event, averaged across minutes) over last year’s 17 million average impressions after 32 matches. The league has also achieved a higher engagement with 64 minutes’ average time spent per viewer vis-à-vis 53 minutes last year for 32 matches.
“Cricket has always been a solid performer in India,” Basabdatta Chowdhuri, chief operating officer of Starcom Mediavest (Publicis Groupe’s media buying agency in India), had told Forbes India for a related story on IPL which was published on April 26, 2017. “Most of us media planners were pretty certain that the IPL would succeed. That’s the reason a lot of advertisers, large or not so large, have betted on the property,” says Chowdhuri.
Brands such as Maruti Suzuki, Pepsi, Vodafone, Amazon and Parle Products have launched their new commercials with the tenth season of IPL.
“Given the fragmentation in the media today, IPL is one property that gives you the capability to reach to entire India. Even mainline GECs would only give you reach in the North and West, not so much in the South and East. That makes IPL an ideal platform to advertise,” says Mayank Shah, category head, Parle Products, which is launching a new commercial to highlight the premium and exclusive brands that come from the house of Parle with IPL-10.
This success comes despite the league courting several controversies over the years – alleged financial irregularity against former IPL chairman Lalit Modi and allegations of betting that led to the suspension of two teams, Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals – to name a few.
Rakesh Jariwala, partner and segment champion – Sports, EY India, says that “despite the setbacks, it seems the popularity of the game has not declined” because “IPL is a unique platform that brings an entire generation to their feet, young ones and elderly alike, and hence, generates a massive interest.”
The top performing markets for the IPL are Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, Gujarat, Karnataka and West Bengal. Among metros, Mumbai and Delhi take the top spot.With the play-offs just around the corner and the League approaching the ‘business-end’ of its season, viewership, attendance and digital numbers are only set to soar, putting the tenth season of the IPL on course to go down in history as the League’s biggest and best yet, says a BCCI press statement released on the 16th of May 2017.
*For the detailed story on the IPL: IPL's power play: A hit for cricket lovers, money-spinner for its stakeholders
Also read: IPL-10: Big shots and big bucks on offer