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Indian Premier League: A Controversially Successful Sporting Event

CASE STUDY, MARKETING MANAGEMENT
ET Cases, 17 Pages
AUTHOR(S) : Dr. Sudeepta Pradhan, Assistant Professor, IBS Hyderabad, Dr. Subhadip Roy, Assistant Professor, IIM Udaipur and Achyut Telang, Research Scholar, IBS Hyderabad

Case Preview

Indian Premier League: A Controversially Successful Sporting Event

 

The Ups and the Downs

The Indian Premier League (IPL) which concluded in Season 9 on May 29th 2016, began its journey in 2008. Since then, the IPL had been all about the three C’s – Cash, Cricket and Controversies. Cash and cricket were the focus of IPL but controversies just happened. In terms of business, initially IPL Season 9 failed to make a mark. The average television viewer rating (TVR) for the first six matches fell sharply to 3.5, as compared to 4.5 last season, i.e. IPL 8. The T20 World Cup which had taken place just before the IPL might have added to the wear-out effect which resulted in lesser viewers. However the tournament picked up slowly. It reached an enormous viewership of 335 million and with this, its reach grew 54% over the reach of its opening week. By mapping rural India, IPL Season 9 was looking at a viewership of around 500 million and a revenue increase of around 15-20% from broadcasting.

The tournament which started amidst high glamour in 2008 was touted to be the answer to the club level championship in football. Though it had done well in phases, there were a lot of ups and downs in terms of viewership across the seasons. The on and off field controversies were really affecting the so-called ‘Gentleman’s Game’. The tournament was also facing a host of other challenges which it needed to desperately fix, if it wanted it to grow in the future..............

The Indian Premier League

The Indian Premier League (IPL) was launched with the sole intention to promote club cricket in India based on the T20 format. IPL was introduced by Lalit Modi (Modi) soon after the Indian cricket team won the T20 World Cup. The game was launched in New Delhi, India on September 13th 2007. IPL followed the format of English Premier League (football), where the respective team owners would hire/relocate players. The highest bidder obtaining the ownership rights of the franchises auctioned in the very first stage. The bidding resulted in eight teams auctioned in the first version, each team representing an Indian city, namely Bangalore, Chandigarh, Chennai, Delhi, Hyderabad, Jaipur, Kolkata and Mumbai, Exhibit I.............

Communicating IPL and Communicating within IPL

The communication campaign of the tournament was an Integrated Marketing Communications campaign with synchronized use of all types of media such as Television, Internet, Print etc. The first set of aired ads focused on the fighting spirit of cricket and how the IPL would be a war of guts dissolving the geographic boundaries of international cricket, Exhibit IV. Shortly thereafter, another television commercial was aired that wanted to establish the IPL as the father of entertainment by dramatization and humor appeal..........

IPL Season 1 (2008)

The first season of IPL commenced on April 18th 2008 and lasted for 46 days with 59 matches scheduled, out of which 58 took place while one was washed out due to rain. The final was played between CSK and Rajasthan Royals (RR) with RR claiming the winner’s trophy where the latter emerged as winner. The presence of film stars in the stands and in the field added glamour to the IPL Season 1. There was visible brand rivalry during the matches between brands like Coca-Cola and Pepsi, Airtel and Vodafone, Hero Honda and TVS Motors, locking horns both on the cricket pitch and in television............

IPL Season 2 (2009)

The second season of the IPL commenced on April 18th 2009. The season coincided with the General Elections in India and owing to concerns regarding security of the players; the venue was shifted to South Africa. The second season of IPL turned out to be successful in terms of viewership but not as good as IPL Season 1, Exhibit VI. The final match was held on May 24th 2009 between Deccan Chargers (DC) and RCB at Johannesburg in which the former won the title. However, BCCI incurred a huge cost in moving the IPL from India to South Africa..........

IPL Season 3 (2010)

The third season of the IPL commenced with the players’ auction in January 2010. A total of eleven players were sold out of the offered sixty-six players. Due to the then political crisis in Telangana region, DC could not play matches at their preferred home location of Hyderabad, India. Nagpur, Navi Mumbai and Cuttack were the three new places in addition to the previous seven big cities for hosting IPL matches. The major advertising campaign from the organizers had a theme depicting a huge red carpet being rolled out for the return of IPL to India..........

IPL Season 4 (2011)

On March 21st 2010 it was announced that two new teams from Kochi and Pune would be added to IPL Season 4. The initial part of this season faced political and administrative issues such as investigations into the financial dealings of IPL and the removal of Modi from IPL Chairmanship by BCCI on grounds of misappropriation of funds. Before the main tournament, a considerable amount of hype was generated by the IPL players’ auctions which was broadcasted live on television.............

IPL Season 5 (2012)

IPL Season 5 began with the termination of the Kochi Tuskers Kerala (KTK) franchisee by the BCCI. IPL Season 5 comprised of nine teams to play 76 matches over 54 days at 12 venues around the country. The auction of players for IPL Season 5 was held on February 4th2012 at Bangalore. The BCCI signed a contract with the Association of Straws & Sons for a jaw-dropping $1,000 million, the breakup being: team sponsor $302.2 million, kit sponsor $19.67 billion and media rights $501.1 million. The global television rights of the two-hour program, was itself auctioned for $50 million.........

IPL Season 6 (2013)

IPL 2013 was the sixth season of the IPL and featured nine teams. The opening ceremony was in Kolkata on April 2nd 2013 and the tournament lasted from April 3rd to May 26th 2013. For the first time PepsiCo was the title sponsor. The previous sponsor DLF did not renew their contract after their INR2.5 billion five-year contract ended. PepsiCo’s contract was for five years, up to the 2017 season. Regarding the higher sponsorship costs, a representative of PepsiCo said, “Our estimate is that we will get five to six times the value of the money we paid”................

IPL Season 7 (2014)

IPL 2014, the seventh season featured eight teams, one less than the previous year where Pune Warriors India (PWI) withdrew. The player auctions happened on February 12th and 13th 2014 and the auction was in Indian Rupees not in US dollars as in the previous seasons. As this IPL season clashed with the 2014 general elections, some part of this season took place outside India after Sushil Kumar Shinde, the previous Home Minister denied the provision of security which was demanded by the league................

IPL Season 8 (2015)

IPL 2015 was the eighth season of the tournament and the opening ceremony was held at Kolkata on April 7th 2015. This time once again there were eight teams and the IPL was held from April 8th 2015 to May 24th 2015. A total of 123 players were retained for the season. The released players could register themselves for auction. Six players were also traded before the auction and Yuvraj Singh was bought by DD for INR160 million, which was a record bid in IPL. Overall 67 players were sold and the franchises spent INR876 million to buy the players...............

IPL Season 9 (2016)

The ninth season of the tournament was played between April 9th 2016 and May 29th 2016.SRH became the champions of the VIVO IPL Season 9 for the first time. They won the final against RCB. On July 14th 2015, the owners of the RR and CSK franchises were suspended for a period of two years by the RM Lodha committee on charges of betting and spot-fixing during the 2013 IPL season. The BCCI announced that two new teams would replace them for the next two seasons. PepsiCo terminated its five-year deal which was supposed to end in 2017 and withdrew as the title sponsor of the IPL............

Controversies

IPL was marred with several controversies throughout the years ranging from molestation allegations to superstar scuffles. Australian player Luke Pommersbach was in news for allegedly molesting an Indian-American woman at a five-star hotel in Delhi and battering her fiancé. The owner of the KKR franchisee Shah Rukh Khan was banned from Mumbai’s Wankhede Stadium by the Maharashtra Cricket Association (MCA) Chief Vilasrao Deshmukh for five years, for allegedly misbehaving with MCA officials and violating rules.............

The Road Ahead

The IPL though it was successful, there were a few issues that still existed. With all sentiments attached to the game, viewer loyalties for players created problems when they shifted teams. “I was an orthodox Kolkata Knight Riders’ follower. But since Sourav Ganguly changed his team to Pune Warriors, my emotional connect has blurred”, said a fan. Former cricketer Shishir Hattangadi, who once worked on the team management of Sachin Tendulkar-led MI, said that the IPL was suffering from a poor long-term development plan.........

Assignment Questions

I. Has BCCI made use of the full repertoire of communication tools in marketing the IPL? What should BCCI do in future? Discuss the options in front of the BCCI with reference to the case.
II. Discuss the advantages of event sponsorships and how IPL en-cashed upon it? Discuss the uniqueness of IPL as a marketing extravaganza. What differentiates it from the other sporting events?
III..............

Exhibits

Exhibit I: IPL Season 1-Teams, Owners and the prices paid

Exhibit II: IPL Player Auctions-Purchase Details of Key Players

Exhibit III: List of sponsors, Type of Sponsorships and Deal Amount

Exhibit IV: Storyboard of first TVC of the First Season of IPL

Exhibit V: A Vodafone Zoozoo in IPL Ground

Exhibit VI: Season-wise TVR Trend of IPL

Exhibit VII: IPL Season 4-Bharat Bandh Outdoor Ad

Exhibit VIII: IPL Viewership and Revenue Growth Over Years

Exhibit IX: Spots Reach and Impressions of Key Sponsors (April 18-24, 2016 on Sony Network)

Exhibit X: IPL Teams Sponsors and Partners

Teaching Note Preview

Indian Premier League: A Controversially Successful Sporting Event

 

Synopsis

The present case study details on how IPL developed from being a sports event in 2008 to a glamorous event in 2016. It seeks to enable a discussion on understanding the role of marketing communications and how they change/evolve over time. Further it seeks to highlight the role of a synchronized marketing communication campaign for the success of an event. The role of support media and other tools in communication mix in creating synergy in the communication strategy as well as the issues relevant to event sponsorship is brought out by the case. Lastly, understanding the way sponsors react to success or failure of an event, how an event leads marketing at multiple levels and the role of Publicity and Public Relations in polishing the image of a brand are the concepts that would be analyzed.

Case Setting and Positioning

This case study is suited for discussion in courses like Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) in a Post Graduate Program in Business Management (MBA). The case study can also be effectively used for chapters on marketing environment and sales promotion in Marketing Management course in an MBA program.

The case study can also be taken up to teach/discuss Marketing Strategy, Brand Management and Sports Marketing in an Executive Education Program/MDP more specifically in event marketing. Students should have read Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and Customer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model of Kevin L. Keller (2007).

Pedagogical Objectives

The case is structured in a manner so that the following learning objectives are fulfilled:

  • • Understanding the role of marketing communications and support media to analyze the role of a synchronized marketing communication campaign/communication strategy
  • • Issues relevant to event sponsorship and how sponsors react to success/failure of an event and to understand how an event leads marketing at multiple levels
  • • To understand the role of Customer Based Brand Equity and to analyze the role of Publicity and Public Relations in polishing the image of a brand

 

Prerequisite Conceptual Understanding/Before the Classroom Discussion

  • • Belch, G.E.; Belch, M.A. and Purani, K, “Advertising and Sales Promotion: An Integrated Marketing Communications Perspective”, (Special Indian Edition), New Delhi: Tata McGraw Hill, 2011
  • • Keller, K.L, “Strategic Brand Management: Building, Measuring, and Managing Brand Equity”, 3rd ed., Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River: New Jersey, 2007
  • • Kotler, P., Keller, K.L., Koshy, A. and Jha, M., “Marketing Management: A South Asian Perspective”, 13th Ed. New Delhi: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009
  • • Kevin Lane Keller, “Building Customer-Based Brand Equity: A Blueprint for Creating Strong Brands,” Marketing Management, 2001

 

Since the case is majorly focused on Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and Brand Management, the conceptual foundations discussed would require the students to have prior readings of some chapters/models of both subjects. In case the instructor would like to use this case in a Brand Management course, the students would be expected to come prepared after a reading of the Customer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model of Kevin L. Keller (2007). The case could be used for multiple concepts in an IMC course. However, according to the case writers, the major focus would be on two concepts. The first one would be the general overview of communication tools in marketing. However, the case study has enough information on how event sponsorships could be used as an effective tool of communication. Lastly, the faculty may also decide to have considerable amount of discussion on the use of PR tools to revive the craze around IPL. In such case, the students would be required to prepare the chapter of the role of PR in marketing communications..............

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Abstract

The present case study is a descriptive case on the Indian Premier League (IPL) that started in 2008 as an initiative to promote cricket in India based on the T20 format. The case details on how IPL developed from being a sports event in 2008 to a glamorous event by 2016. Majorly meant for Marketing and Sports Marketing courses, the case provides details on issues of marketing strategies to promote the IPL as a sporting entertainment rather than only cricket. This case study traces the marketing strategies and the various related issues which took place over the last nine seasons of the tournament. The case discusses how the IPL was providing a win-win-win situation for the organizers, sponsors and the team franchises at the same time. However, the case ends with the question of the future of the tournament since it has been marred with player and owner level controversies, inconsistent viewership and sponsors.


Pedagogical Objectives

  • Understanding the role of marketing communications and support media to analyze the role of a synchronized marketing communication campaign/communication strategy
  • Issues relevant to event sponsorships and how sponsors react to success/failure of an event and to understand how an event leads marketing at multiple levels
  • To understand the role of Customer Based Brand Equity and to analyze the role of Publicity and Public Relations in polishing the image of a brand

Case Positioning and Setting
This case study is suited for discussion in courses like Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) in a Post Graduate Program in Business Management (MBA). The case study can also be effectively used for chapters on marketing environment and sales promotion in Marketing Management course in an MBA program.
The case study can also be taken up to teach/discuss Marketing Strategy, Brand Management and Sports Marketing in an Executive Education Program/MDP more specifically in event marketing.Students should have read Integrated Marketing Communications (IMC) and Customer Based Brand Equity (CBBE) model of Kevin L. Keller (2007).



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