MUMBAI: The 2014 version of the India Premier League cricket tournament has been adjudged a success within the advertising world, with viewing figures and ad rates both up on last year.

This was in spite of the logistical and legal problems that at one point had seemed to endanger the viability of the event, with games moved overseas to avoid clashing with a general election and a betting scandal threatening the participation of two teams.

According to Rohit Gupta, president of Multi Screen Media (MSM), the IPL's official broadcaster, after the first 51 matches, viewing figures had advanced 4% on the equivalent period in 2013 to reach 183m.

"The IPL is a property much like the English Premier League or the NBA," he told the Business Standard. "It is not going anywhere, and will continue grow."

One regular advertiser, Havells India, an electrical appliance maker, reported that ratings and reach had seen an increase of 3% to 4% in 2014. "Consistent ratings across 60 days is the reason why we have been associated with IPL for the last seven seasons," said A Vijay Narayanan, vice-president, marketing. "No other programme offers this consistency," he stated.

Further, ad rates were between 10% and 12% higher, averaging Rs 4.75 lakh per 10 seconds, with the result that Sony, the owner of MSM, is reported to have earned ad revenues of Rs 850 crore. While this figure is the same as last year, it was achieved over fewer games – a total of 60 matches were played in 2014 compared to 76 in 2013.

That reduction was also a factor in the number of advertisers dropping from 100 to between 60 and 70. But Gupta noted that new sponsors had also come on board, citing consumer goods business Marico, confectioner Perfetti and vehicle maker TVS.

And companies that had decided against sponsoring teams had still found advertising to be effective. "It was a wise decision to have spent on IPL despite not being sponsors this year," said Manish Sharma, managing director of Panasonic India, the consumer electronics business.  "This time we advertised air conditioners and smartphones and got a good response," he added.

E-commerce businesses have also emerged as significant advertisers, spending a total of Rs 100 crore during the tournament.

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff