The eight teams in the Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket tournament expect revenues from merchandise sales to treble this year, thanks to the game itself, which has become a hot, $2-billion (Rs 9,200 crore) property.
Each team has introduced a range of new merchandise this year to cash in on the opportunity. Some are even setting up stalls inside the stadium to push impulse purchase by fans.
Industry estimates and the team owners predict revenues of at least Rs 1–10 crore per franchisee this season from merchandise sales alone, depending on the popularity of the team.
In the first IPL season, two years earlier, Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) earned around Rs 5 crore, the highest among all teams, from merchandise sales after being voted the most popular franchisee.
Mumbai Indians is setting up stalls this year inside the stadium, where it expects the bulk of its merchandise sales to take place. Leeladhar Singh, its marketing head, said: “Merchandise sales this year have picked up drastically. We are selling all our products through various Reliance Retail formats. The largest selling are T-shirts, caps and bags. We will put up stalls inside the stadium where we expect the bulk of merchandise sales to happen, as fan following has increased.”
They have introduced a wristband this year, priced at Rs 40 and proclaiming ‘Mumbai Indians Education For All.’ The wristband has autographs of Sachin Tendulkar. “The proceeds would go to five non-government-organisations that we have tied-up with. This is our IPL-centric social initiative for this year,” said Singh.
The proceeds from this would go to support partner organisations Akanksha, Nanhi Kali, Pratham, Teach for India and Ummeed. These have taken on the challenge of giving children in Mumbai and across India the opportunity to receive a proper education.
Rajasthan Royals expect merchandise sales to treble this year compared to the first IPL season. Raghu Iyer, marketing head, said: “Last year, when we were in South Africa, merchandise sales were good; Puma, our merchandise partner, has a good presence in that country. This year, the property itself is so big and we had enough time to prepare for the season and so, revenues from merchandise sales should treble this year.”
To bring in some innovation, Rajasthan Royals, champions of the inaugural season, has introduced two new looks of player jerseys for this IPL. So, this year their team would have two jerseys, one exclusive combination for home and another for away matches. For home matches, the colour of the jersey would be blue with golden sleeves; for those away from home, the combination would reverse to golden with blue sleeves. These colours signify royalty and valour, one is told.
Chennai Super Kings expects around Rs 1 crore from merchandise sales this year, a new source of revenue for them. The team has tied up with Oceanbed Gifts and Merchandise, a Gurgaon-based company, to sell its branded products.
Oceanbed promoter Gayathri Venugopalan says 26 products — sports bottle, 3D mugs, wallets, keychains, mini autographed bats, bags, T-shirts, wristbands, etc — would be sold through 100 outlets during the tournament.
Reebok, the official merchandise partner of Kolkata Knight Riders, expects revenues from merchandise sales to be double that of the first IPL season. Sajid Shamim, marketing director of Reebok, said: “We have created a separate line for stadium gear. We will set up stalls inside the Eden Gardens (stadium venue) this year. The stadium jerseys would be priced at Rs 299, while the originals at the Reebok stores, are available at Rs 2,000.”