Business – Q&A Lalit Modi
The IPL-Google tie-up has been a landmark deal for the League.
It’s the most important decision I’ve taken in my life. It’s a paradigm shift. Imagine, Google could have approached any sporting event, the NBA or the EPL but they choose IPL for their first live sports broadcast on YouTube (Google’s video streaming portal).
My aim has been to reach as many households in the world as possible. The challenge for us was that in some places, the satellite rights are a concern. The stakes are high, investment would be high. So, the best way to increase IPL presence was to reach out through the internet. The two-year partnership with Google will help us reach out to several countries where Google has presence. The matches will be live, viewers can forward/rewind matches and so on. Users can create their own package of highlights and upload it on YouTube.
But, the IPR will remain with IPL. In countries where there are television and satellite rights sold to broadcasters, the matches will be aired with a maximum delay of five minutes.
Will IPL consider merchandising deals this season?
As you are aware we signed on Swiss watch brand, Bandelier, as the official watch licencee for the league. We are exploring opportunities and are in talks with several categories. The Google tie-up will help us sell merchandise globally, at the click of a button. That’s how important the Google deal is.
Clearly, this upcoming season you have explored more revenue sources like the internet live streaming, the theatrical rights sold to UFO. What next?
There is lots more coming up but mobile (phones) is a very important medium, with over 500 million users in India alone. It is a source that can be tapped across the globe. We are brainstorming on how it can be leveraged. We may consider live streaming of IPL matches globally, through a global platform. FIFA (the world football association) announced that their matches will go 3D across screens, but we are implementing it way before them. IPL’s four crucial matches — semi finals,finals and matches for the second place — will be aired in 3D format across 3D theatres.
By what per cent has your marketing and promotional spends increased for IPL3?
(This) IPL will by far be the biggest brand marketers have seen. Whenever IPL season starts, the big bucks will come to IPL. Advertisers know the value of the League. Our spends for IPL3 have increased over 40 per cent from last year.
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