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Advertisers` no show for Chandra`s ICL

Media baron Subhash Chandra’s Indian Cricket League (ICL), which got a weak response from viewers and advertisers for its Twenty20 tournament in its first season last year, has signed on Edelweiss Capital as the title sponsor for ICL’s second season.

The upcoming tournament, called Edelweiss 20s Challenge, still doesn’t match up to Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) DLF Indian Premier League (IPL).

DLF Indian Premier League scheduled to begin in April was able to rake in Rs 40 crore (for one year, Rs 200 crore across five years) from real estate major DLF for the league’s title sponsorship rights.

The title sponsorship rights were sold at almost twice the price paid by Edelweiss Capital (around Rs 20 crore for one season) for the ICL title rights, according to sources close to the development.

Ashish Kaul, executive vice-president of Essel Group, refused to comment on the issue.

According to industry experts, the difference in title rates is due to the quality of players attracted by both these leagues.

“The world’s top 80 cricketers are playing in the Indian Premier League. On the other hand, the Indian Cricket League hasn’t got a very exciting players list that would attract advertisers. As a result, the money spend on IPL will be much higher,” said Hiren Pandit, managing partner–ESP, Group M Media India.

The high profile corporate and bollywood association with IPL has further raised expectations from the tournament.

During the first season, signing on brands as sponsors was an uphill task for ICL. For instance, the asking price for a team sponsorship was nearly Rs 2 crore initially. However, later the team sponsorship was sold for around Rs 20-25 lakh per team due to a weak response, estimate sources.

“Given the fact that ICL didn’t take off on a good note in its first year, the promoter should have considered launching the second season sometime later. Currently, the money in the market has been mopped up by IPL and Star Plus’ game show with Shah Rukh Khan. Therefore, there is not much scope for advertisers coming on board for ICL,” said an executive of a leading media buying agency.

The second season of ICL is slated to begin on March 9 and will host 34 matches till April 7. Two more teams have been added – Lahore and Ahmedabad – to the existing six teams of Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh and Hyderabad, which played in the first season in November-December 2007.

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