NEW DELHI: This year's Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to be played outside the country because of security concerns as it clashes with elections, but TV viewing figures and advertising rates are expected to be unaffected.
The government has indicated that with elections due in April/May it would not be able to provide adequate security cover for the competition, due to take place between 9 April and 3 June, and the organisers are now considering alternative venues, including South Africa, although the final could still take place in India.
A similar situation unfolded five years ago when IPL2 was moved to South Africa and television rating points dropped from 5.59 to 4.84, but MSM, which owns the broadcast rights, was optimistic that viewing figures would remain buoyant. Over the history of the competition these have doubled from 78m in 2008 to 140m in 2013.
"Even if the initial games shift out, the matches will still be telecast at 8pm India time and that should not impact television viewing," Rohit Gupta, president of network sales at MSM, told Livemint.
That assessment was echoed by Varun Gupta, managing director of brand valuation firm American Appraisal India, who noted that matches would still be shown on prime time in India. "So I don't think the viewership will be impacted significantly, if at all," he said, adding: "And hence even the advertising rates won't suffer."
IPL team franchisees, however, will take a hit, losing up to 40% of their potential revenues from gate receipts, the Economic Times reported, in addition to food and drinks sales within grounds.
"Sponsorships too will be impacted as some sponsors may shy away from signing due to the movement," added Hemant Dua, chief executive officer of GMR Sports, which owns the Delhi Daredevils team.
PepsiCo, the lead tournament sponsor, said it was in dialogue with the Board of Cricket Control in India which it hoped would "find a solution which is in the best interest of all stakeholders".
Data sourced from Livemint, Economic Times; additional content by Warc staff