Star India, which owns the broadcasting rights for the India Premier League (IPL), is reported to be targeting a 17% increase in ad sales for the 12th season of the tournament, despite the complications surrounding this year’s event.

According to Inside Sport, the broadcaster is aiming to generate Rs 2,100 crore in ad sales in 2019, up from Rs 1,800 in 2018, with much of that likely to come from local language feeds and its Hotstar OTT platform.

The publication added that the Star has begun its pitch to advertisers early this year since there is still some uncertainty around whether the competition will even take place in India, given that its likely date – running for six weeks from April to mid-May – could clash with a general election. On the two previous occasions this has happened, the IPL decamped to South Africa and the United Arab Emirates.

Nor can the IPL simply be delayed until after an election since the ICC World Cup, for which Star also holds broadcasting rights, begins at the end of May in England.

Given the proximity of two major tournaments, the bigger advertisers may consider splitting their budgets over the two tournaments – which could make Star’s reported target challenging to achieve.

At the same time, however, the broadcaster is in a position to offer advertisers a package covering both competitions. One media buyer suggested that “if Star is targeting Rs 2,100 crore from the IPL, the market will need around Rs 4,000 crore for the two elite events”.

Meanwhile, the continued uncertainty over where the IPL will be played is not helping Star persuade advertisers.

“When we invest in a sport event, we also plan other activations with our distributors and clients,” one leading marketer told Inside Sport.

“That becomes a little too difficult for us if the league is not happening in India. It does not mean that we will not invest in the IPL. But we will certainly need more clarity to finalise our IPL plans.”

Sourced from Inside Sport; additional content by WARC staff