The Indian Premier League has been a hot bed for controversies right from the start. From one player slapping another to a owner getting banned from a stadium, players getting caught in rave parties to teams getting scrapped and now — cricketers getting caught in spot fixing — one can say that the brand IPL has seen the best and the worst of all.
Not surprisingly, these controversies have hit the brand equity of IPL. Advertisers and experts say that the brand needs to urgently take some measures to clean up its image, else the equity will further be dented.
“Incidents like this leads to loss of credibility. And this is not the first to hit IPL. Owners and organisers need to show it to the audience that they are making efforts to clean up the mess, else the opportunity to be a fast growing global brand will take a beating,” says Sridhar Ramanujan, CEO-Brand comm.
According to brand Finance, a company that values brand IPL, the tournament has shaved off about a billion dollars in brand equity since 2010. The brand was valued at $ 4.13 billion in 2010 and as per the 2013 report, it now stands at $3.03 billion. And experts say that among other things lack of trust in the brand and bad governance are the major reasons for the downfall.
However, the saving grace for the brand this time has been that the controversy has broken out later in the day. “If the spot fixing scandal would have had come to light right in the third-fourth match then it would have had a significant impact on the brand equity.
Currently, the frenzy is very high and therefore it will have limited impact on the brand,” says Harish Bijoor, a brand consultant.
Also the fact that the three players involved in the scandal — S Sreesanth, Ajit Chandila and Ankeet Chavan — have very little fan following and so their involvement will not have a huge bearing on the game. “Players that are icons get involved then the brand will get affected. But till then cricket and Bollywood is scam proof,” says Anand Halve, co-founder of Chlorophyll, a brand consulting firm.
With crores of rupee, riding on this game, advertisers and brand managers are keenly watching to see what damage control steps the cricket fraternity can take to swing the ball in their court.