IPL 2013: A Mighty Six

IPL 6 opening cermonyMore than 100 brands led by title sponsor Pepsi are pulling out all stops to be on top. (PTI)

Proving its detractors wrong, the Indian Premier League has emerged as the country's biggest sporting and entertainment extravaganza offering a perfect platform for brands to connect with their core audience. In its sixth season as all eyes turn to the action on the pitch, more than 100 brands led by title sponsor Pepsi are pulling out all stops to be on top of the game

Six is a magical number in cricket. Players and fans wait for that 'aha' moment when the batsman hits the ball for a massive six over the boundary line. For the IPL 2013 (Indian Premier League) that 'aha' moment has arrived. The sixth season of the twenty20 tournament organised by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) has started and with it the country\'s biggest sporting and entertainment extravaganza. In many ways, the sixth season is a milestone in the tumultous history of IPL. After the successful completion of the fifth season last year, all the central sponsorship deals were up for renewal. A tender floated by IPL for the title sponsorship saw cola giant PepsiCo India bagging it for the next five years. Again, the Hyderabad franchise changed hands as one of India's leading media conglomerates, the Sun Group, acquired the team heralding the rise of a fresh new team, 'Sunrisers'.

Already 100 million viewers have watched the first week of Pepsi IPL 2013 on MAX and SIX, the two channels on which official broadcaster Multi Screen Media (MSM) is showing the tournament, according to data collected by television audience measurement agency TAM Media Research. This season, more than 100 brands are betting more than R1500 crore through direct advertising, sponsorships, licensing and merchandising deals with individual teams, IPL management and MSM. Along with them, many restaurants, bars and hotels hope to do some brisk business as fans gather at these places to watch their favourite cricketers on giant screens put up for the occasion. For instance, popular pub Hard Rock Café (HRC), which sees a huge turnout of corporate and media professionals during the IPL matches, is serving an extra punch with its specially created cocktail pitchers such as Play, Rum Striker, Stumped and Free Hit for IPL6 fans. There are fun-filled contests and prizes. Hard Rock Café has five centres in India – Mumbai, Delhi. Hyderabad, Pune and Bangalore – and has been screening IPL matches since the first season of the tournament in 2008.

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