IPL 2020 : Uday Shankar’s big statement on IPL, ‘Market not in position to support IPL 2020’

Uday Shankar, President of the Walt Disney Company, APAC and Chairman, Star & Disney India is known for his straight talking in the media circles. And he did the same when he was asked about the Indian Premier League’s (IPL 2020) season. In an extremely big statement coming in from the boss of Star India, Shankar admitted that the market is not ready to support the IPL 2020 with the same fervor and gusto in the current economic environment. Shankar spoke to ET now and declared that he doubts if the market would recover in next 6-8 weeks to put thousand of crores of advertising on this season of IPL.

“If it is one tournament where advertisers will put money, that is IPL but only if they have to put monies. The market has gone through massive shock. Whether it would recover enough to put thousand of crores worth of advertising in next 6-8 weeks is the real issue and we doubt that”, said the Star & Disney India Chairman.

Uday Shankar on IPL 2020 : BCCI keen but advertisers doubtful

Star India acquired global media rights of IPL in 2017 for whooping 16,347.5 crore for the period of five years. According to InsideSport’s estimate, Star India in its first two years of relationship with BCCI on IPL managed to generate advertising revenues in the range of 2000-2200 cr per season. Star was targeting magical figure of 3000 cr for the IPL 2020 advertising sales.

According to Uday, for Star and other advertisers, IPL only makes sense if the advertising activity is really substantial and that in the current economy is almost impossible.

‘IPL is an expensive tournament. We have paid huge monies to acquire the rights. For it to breakeven for us, for the other stakeholders the advertising activity needs to be really substantial. Given the kind of economic shock we have seen during these times, I am not sure if market is ready to support and sustain IPL 2020’, declared Uday.

Uday also added that BCCI is extremely keen to go ahead with IPL season but provided the environment to conduct the event is safe.
“We don’t know at Star when exactly IPL will happen. Every engagement we had with BCCI, we get a sense they are extremely keen to do it sooner than later provided that environment is safe and they find a place which is safe to hold the tournament”.

“Right now anyway nothing can happen because monsoons have started, grounds are unserviceable. Hopefully when monsoon ends, virus gets diffused – we should get back to these talks” according to Shankar

Advertisers also echo the views of Star India’s boss on IPL 2020 advertising

According to RS Sodhi, Managing Director of Amul IPL in this tough market will not even get 50% of what they use to attract.
“A lot of categories went through financial pressure, which might continue to happen. So, if IPL happens, they will not get half the rates what they were getting previously because inventories are the same and spending has come down considerably”, said RS Sodhi, Managing Director of Amul.

“There will be a lot of bargaining, advertisers will expect to get maximum exposure with minimum spends. IPL revenue might not be the same”, said Sodhi.

IPL 2020 : Some advertisers have already pulled out

According to some of the senior hands in the industry the current situation of the market is neither a good news for the IPL’S broadcast partner Star India or for the league itself. InsideSport earlier had reported that some of the big advertisers who had earlier committed have already pulled out citing uncertainty.

“If IPL happens this year, it will be difficult for the brands to pledge the same level of monies which they earlier use to pledge on IPL. Now it is a different market and IPL can’t command the same rates”, said one of the leading media buyer on condition of anonymity.

For the season 12 of IPL, Star India had sold the inventory @ the rate of 11 to 12 Lac per 10 seconds in 2019. For IPL 2020, Star had booked almost 60-65% of the inventory on IPL at a 10% to 12% increase vis a vis last year. Dream 11, Byju’s, Vivo, PhonePe, Asian Paints from 2019 and new signings like digital accounting provider Khatabook and Amazon had signed up as on-air sponsors with Star before Covid19 pandemic hit everyone.

According to the industry insiders with most of the businesses being hit, the advertising norms has changed overnight. Very few will now have capacity to spend the amounts that IPL demands and also commands