Rajasthan, Kings XI's expulsion to hit Brand IPL

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='http://www.ndtv.com/convergence/images/thumbnail/ver1/r/rajasthanpunjabgrid.jpg' class='caption'> The BCCI's decision to cancel the agreements of Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab will affect the brand equity of the IPL, according to experts.

Updated: October 11, 2010 14:15 IST
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New Delhi:

The BCCI's decision terminate the franchise agreements of Rajasthan Royals (RR) and Kings XI Punjab (KXIP) will affect the brand equity of the T20 cricket league, according to industry observers.

The latest development has not only diluted the brand image of the league, but also has put a question mark over the future of the mega cricketing event, they said.

"The (IPL) brand equity will definitely take a hit. If the two teams go to courts against the BCCI's decision and if the battles go on, then the bigger question is, will IPL four ever happen?" Mindshare Managing Partner (Entertainment Sports Partnerships) Hiren Pandit said.

He, however, said the actual impact on viewership and the subsequent impact on advertisers' interest can be judged only in a long term, when there would be more clarity.

Future Brands CEO and Managing Director Santosh Desai said Sunday's move by the BCCI to expel Rajasthan Royals and Kings XI Punjab from the IPL over violation of ownership norms did little to clear the air over the controversial league.

In a drastic step, the BCCI had also issued notice to the Kochi franchisee, asking its stakeholders to resolve their dispute within ten days.

"Neither it is aimed at bringing transparency to the IPL system overall, nor does it communicate the BCCI's vision for the game of cricket. Rather than a clean up, it continues to stink," Desai said.

Advertisers and sponsors will be a little cautious and they will evaluate their future course of action based on the impact on the viewership. "But, yes the advance bookings are likely to get affected," Desai said added.

IPL broadcaster MSM's President (Network Sales) Rohit Gupta, however, insist that it will be "business as usual".

"It is very early to comment on the development. But in terms of number of matches it will remain the same, so that is good for us," Gupta said.

However, according to analysts, had there been ten teams playing in IPL's next season, MSM, that telecasts matches live on Set Max, would have raked in more money from advertisements and sponsorships as compared to the earlier seasons as the number of matches would have gone up.

"IPL is an entertaining format and we will continue to invest in the game as an advertiser if the economics work out well for us," Godrej Appliances, Vice President, Sales and Marketing Kamal Nandi.

Similarly, Havells India Vice-President Marketing Vijay Narayanan said the company will continue to invest in IPL as it has in the earlier seasons.

"We had started discussions with MSM for the next season. But with the number of matches coming back to 60, they (MSM) will have to come back to us with revised offer," Narayanan said.

Most of sponsors of the two teams, including Gitanjali Lifestyle, PepsiCo, ACC Cement, Ultratech Cement and Whirpool, declined to comment saying more clarity was required before making any comment regarding their future course of action.

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