Among many firsts in Season 9 of Indian Premier League (IPL), Delhi-based Intex Technologies has become the first mobile brand to own a team - Rajkot. Keshav Bansal, director of Intex Technologies and owner of Rajkot IPL team, tells Vimukt Dave that while driving revenue from the sporting event will be a challenge, the company will leverage it by launching a slew of products. Edited excerpts:
Now that the likes of Suresh Raina, Ravindra Jadeja, Brendon McCullum, Dwayne Bravo and James Faulkner are in, what is your strategy for player acquisition going ahead?
We had planned to have strong and balanced team and we move forward with the same strategy. IPL is all about high scoring. Our intent is to put together a strong team to ensure a thrilling tournament for the fans. We picked up Jadeja – a local boy. The idea is to promote local state cricketing talent and for that we largely analysed players’ weaknesses and strengths. If we find more, we will defiantly select locals.
How are you looking at promoting your association with IPL? Will you sponsor your own team or get external brands on board or do both?
There are some local brands willing to get aboard. We will not be advertising only our brand Intex through our team. Sponsorship opportunities would be open for those who feel it could add to their brand value and we would be happy to get them on board. As far as Intex is concerned, it is a great platform for branding. We are completely open for other brands to associate with the team.
Will you continue your association with IPL after two years?
The tender floated by BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India) for the new teams is for two years for now. However, we would love to find new opportunities in it. It will be a great privilege for us to go for a long-term relationship with IPL.
No mobile brand has bought a team in the IPL so far. Intex’s ownership of a team is the first such in IPL. Will this give other brands the confidence to own teams in the future?
It is a personal choice. For me, I found some scope in it. It all depends on what kind of game plan each person has in mind to promote the business.
Has it become impossible for mobile and electronic brands to keep IPL out?
IPL is a great product and the kind of rating it delivers is fantastic. Nothing sells better than cricket in India. It is the most worshipped sport in the country. As a brand, the number of response the event gets is tremendous when one does advertising or branding through it.
Companies are also known to launch products during IPL. What is Intex’s strategy here?
We launch four to five models every month. With the IPL season, we will continue launching new products. Whenever it is possible to link brand promotion with the season, we will do it.
What is the overall capex that you are looking in your two-year association with IPL?
It depends on what kind of players we choose. We have already spent about Rs 27 crore and paid Rs 10 crore to BCCI. You can’t hold on to one figure. The future expenses are completely incidental. This includes buying players, payment for the stadium, travel, lodging, and security of the players, among other things. Hence, it is not easy to predict at this moment.
How viable is the new venture financially? What kind of realisations do you anticipate from it?
It is too early to say. The expenses are huge since we are new. Driving revenue is a big challenge. Financially, it might be not the best model in terms of realisations. Time will tell how things turn out.