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SBD Global/April 4, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Pepsi Hopes Indian Premier League Sponsorship Will Close The Gap With Coke

The IPL's 'dazzling' opening ceremony Monday impressed fans, but not media.
Pepsi "is betting on India’s annual cricket tournament to arrest at least five years of decline in market share and close the gap with leader Coca-Cola" in the South Asian nation’s soft drink market, according to Adi Narayan of BLOOMBERG. Pepsi India Beverage Marketing at Purchase VP Deepika Warrier said that Pepsi, which is spending 3.97B rupees ($73M) over five years on sponsoring the Indian Premier League, "will introduce a special edition 500 milliliter can and offer fans opportunities to watch games with celebrities." The popularity of the IPL "has been on the wane" with TV ratings dropping and ad rates falling as much as 15%. Still, Pepsi "agreed to spend double the previous sponsor to ride on the passion for the sport in a country where the market for soft drinks is estimated by Euromonitor to expand twofold" to $18.2B by 2017. Coca-Cola said that it will buy "airtime on IPL" (BLOOMBERG, 4/3).

LEAGUE ON THE UPSWING: In New Delhi, Gaurav Laghate reported the sixth edition of the IPL "got off to a flying start on Tuesday." But away from the glitter, many industry experts "had raised doubts over the T20 tournament's effectiveness as a marketing platform." However, "the overwhelming verdict still seems to be that IPL gives advertisers their money's worth through better reach and recall." Ormax Media co-Founder & CEO Shailesh Kapoor said, "The IPL format has definitely matured over the last six years. T20 has also emerged as a popular cricket format over these years, creating more format familiarity in turn...Building team loyalty will be the key if the format has to now reach its next level." Reports suggest that the IPL will rate better on TV compared to the '12 edition. As per IPL TV Rating Estimation Study, done by media buying and planning agency MEC, the average TV rating for the league stage is expected to go up from 3.8 TVR last year to 3.9 TVR -- an increase of 2.6%. Broadcaster Multi Screen Media "is happy with IPL." MSM President Rohit Gupta said, "This has been the best year for us. We have roped in maximum sponsors at 11, while 80% of the inventory is sold" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 4/2).

GETTING THE WORD OUT: The PTI reported the dazzling IPL 2013 opening ceremony "might have enthralled the Kolkata crowd" Monday, but inadequate media facilities "stumped hordes of scribes gathered from across the country." With no separate media facilities at the grand venue with a seating capacity of 120,000, the journalists "were seated among the crowd" and basic devices like laptops were not allowed. The scribes also faced difficulties in accessing telecom networks with jammers put in place (PTI, 4/2).
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