MUMBAI: Before it even starts, the eighth season of the Indian Premier League is proving a hit with broadcasters and leading teams, as ad inventory is sold out and the value of sponsorship deals is up on last year.

Multi Screen Media, which owns the broadcasting rights, decided against reserving around 15% of its non-air inventory for spot buys during the tournament because of the level of demand it was experiencing.

"This has been one of the best IPLs, where we have had 100% sell-out before the start of the tournament," Rohit Gupta, MSM president announced last week.

"IPL now has reached a stage where it has matured and has been growing and since it is the biggest property on Indian television, brands want to be associated with the biggest property," he added.

And they are also prepared to pay a premium to be associated with the most successful teams, as Live Mint reported the value of overall sponsorship deals with past winners was up between 10% and 15% on last year.

But at the same time, some teams have struggled to find sponsors for particular areas, such as team jerseys and other items of kit, and these are likely to be offered at a deep discount, perhaps as much as 50%.

Observers attributed these difficulties to the pressures on brand budgets with two major cricketing tournaments – the ICC World Cup and the Indian Premier League – happening so close together.

"In the pecking order for brands, there's little money left for a team's jersey as they may have spent most of their budgets on the World Cup or buying air time during IPL," according to Gautam Kiyawat, chief executive officer, Madison Media Group.

Another trend noted was that ecommerce businesses were shifting the emphasis of their marketing towards television. "Rest assured, you can expect at least the top five e-commerce brands to make their presence felt during this year's tournament," said Indranil Das Blah, COO at sports management company KWAN Entertainment and Marketing Solutions.

Some informed estimates suggest that around one third of IPL 8's revenue will come from this source.

Data sourced from Live Mint, Exchange4Media; additional content by Warc staff