The fourth season of the high octane Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament ended on 28 May, registering its lowest television ratings points since its creation and a decline in its brand value.
Following hot on the heels of the ICC Cricket World Cup, which concluded in early April with India crowned champions, the glamorous twenty twenty (T20) IPL may have suffered from viewer fatigue. And, according to the UK consultancy Brand Finance, the value of the IPL brand fell 11% this year to US$3.67 billion from $4.13 billion in 2010 Ė with some pointing to the high costs of obtaining star players in the gameís multi-million dollar auction as the root cause.
Television viewership figures from Mumbaiís TAM Media Research showed a 22% decline for the first 26 of the IPLís 74 matches across the six cities of Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The fall was even sharper, at 27%, for the ten matches played between 17-23 April.
Put into context, however, TAMís figures still illustrate the dominance of cricket on Indian television. Last year the sport commanded about 176 million viewers in total across in India (from the range of test, one day international and T20 competitions). It also accounted for 85% of the total TV sports advertising spend in India in 2010, netting INR 13 billion of the entire INR 105.3bn TV advertising splurge.
With both the World Cup and IPL staged in the first five months of 2011, that figure has reportedly already risen to a staggering INR 30 billion. While the IPL may not be able to command such large advertising revenues next year due to the drop in ratings this season, interest is still expected to be high.
Sony Entertainment Television (SET) holds the broadcasting rights for the IPL until 2018, while ESPN Star Sports televised the Cricket World Cup 2011.