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IPL 2: Deccan Chargers snatch Royal Challengers
Touted as the betting battle royale between Venkatram Reddy and Vijaya Mallya, it was Reddy who had the last laugh even though Mallya had drawn first blood.

Last year's bottom-rankers Deccan Chargers completely upstaged all calculations to emerge champions of IPL 2009, beating Royal Challengers Bangalore by six runs on Sunday night.

Pushed to the back foot after posting a relatively modest total of 143, Deccan Chargers struck back with some disciplined bowling and excellent captaincy. While Deccan Chargers avenged their league match defeat, it could have been anybody's game at the strategic time-out of the Bangalore innings with the Bangalore innings getting a strong boost from Merwe and Ross Taylor.

However, quick wickets in succession by Pragyan Ojha (who took 3/28) and a middle-order cave-in (Dravid, Virat Kohli and Boucher) pushed them to a difficult spot when they needed 28 off the last 12 balls. RP Singh bowled a very tight last over and he kept the purple cap.

Earlier, Royal Challengers Bangalore captain Anil Kumble's four wicket haul restricted Deccan Chargers to 143 for six in the final of the IPL. Asked to bat first, the Chargers lost their captain Adam Gilchrist in the first over and never really recovered from the setback. Herschelle Gibbs top scored for them with a 48-ball 53, while Andrew Symonds scored a brisk 33 off 21 balls.

Kumble (4/16) was in the thick of things right from the start and was quick to win the individual battle against his opposite number Gilchrist. Kumble called it correct at toss, inserted the Chargers, opened the attack and his third delivery castled the scoreless Gilchrist to send groans across the Hyderabad dug-out.

As the event came to a close on Sunday night at Johannesburg, it was a happy ending for the Twenty20 cricket league's stakeholders. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) that runs the tournament and Sony Max that broadcast the games raked in moolah, despite all the controversies that marred the tournament, which was shifted to South Africa at the last moment.

Nobody gave a chance to IPL 2 that was run down by critics for lack of local connect, low TRPs, strategy breaks and adverse publicity generated by an anonymous blogger. But in the end, all concerned including team owners, sponsors and advertisers ended up with gains.

Though the franchisee owners of Mumbai Indians, Deccan Chargers and Chennai Super Kings are expected to earn a profit this year, Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals had turned profitable last year itself, for others it has been a mixed bag.

Higher costs because of the shifting of the tournament to South Africa and loss of revenues due to hard bargaining by sponsors affected team owners, however, they managed to increase their revenues because of the re-worked deal between BCCI and Multi Screen Media that owns Sony channels.

BCCI managed to sell broadcast rights to Sony and IPL global media rights holder World Sports Group (WSG) for $ 1.63 billion (Rs 8,200 crore) for nine years starting this year. That's much higher than the $ 918 million for 10 years, offered by its deal with WSG last year that got scrapped just before the beginning of the second season.

This year WSG renegotiated the broadcast rights from BCCI for about Rs 335 crore annually — 50% higher than its original deal last year. IPL officials declined to comment on BCCI's likely profits this year.

"We are yet to calculate the profits," said a BCCI official from South Africa. The board had made Rs 350 crore profits from IPL season 1, Sony is estimated to have earned Rs 400-420 crore from ad sales in season two up from Rs 270-280 crore last year.

"We have increased our revenues significantly over last year but can't disclose figures. Sony Max has doubled its airtime rates this year to between Rs 3.75 lakh and Rs 4 lakh for a 10 second spot." Rohit Gupta, president (network sales), Multi Screen Media, said.

Though the franchisees managed to rope in 8-10 sponsors on an average, some sponsorships were sold for as much as Rs 50-60 lakh, after the event moved out of India. Before the uncertainty over the event venue, teams had managed to rope in sponsors at Rs 3-4 crore per deal.

So while the teams did not rake in huge money from sponsorships, they were helped by a renegotiated deal between BCCI and Sony. Under an agreement with the IPL , the franchises will get 80% of the revenues from media rights in the first five years.

PK Iyer, managing director, Deccan Chronicle Holdings, that owns Deccan Chargers, confirmed that the new deal between BCCI and Sony has helped all franchisees to increase revenues.

But Iyer said it is too early to predict if his team, one of the finalists, will make a profit this year. "It is too early to comment since we are a listed entity and our balance sheet is yet to be released," he said.

For corporate sponsors, the gains were limited since most of them lost the opportunity to leverage local connect. But since most deals were inked for more than a year, sponsors are sticking by their teams for now.

Nokia and Coca-Cola, among those associated with this year's lowest ranked team Knight Riders, said they would continue their association. "Despite not winning, KKR has a strong fan following and Nokia has benefited from it," said Viral Oza, head, activation media & marketing, Nokia India.

Chewing gum maker Wrigley, gum partner for all eight teams, said television was not the focal point of its overall campaign. "With our products available in IPL packs at over 1.5 million outlets, we were able to strike a direct connect with the Indian consumer," said Himanshu Khanna, marketing director, Wrigley India.

Asked whether low TRPs was a cause of concern, Khanna said, "TRPs are an important evaluation criteria for any TV campaign. Having said that, TV was not the only medium used by us and so we are evaluating at the overall impact of our campaign rather than just TRPs."

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