Mumbai: Indian Premier League (IPL) is undisputedly the most captivating and prominent cricket league in India and a handful of other countries. Thanks to its growing popularity worldwide, the brand value of IPL has upped by seven per cent last year, according to the market reporter. Post the Covid-19 pandemic, the brand value of the cricket tournament has reached $4.7 billion, despite the last two seasons being played in the UAE; and this popularity has attracted brands from across the categories.
The euphoria around the cricket league has resulted in increased viewership, TRPs, and of course, sponsorships and investments. From shopping app Meesho being the lead trouser branding partner for four teams namely Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Rajasthan Royals, and Gujarat Titans to Rapido's IPL campaign with actors Ranveer Singh, Allu Arjun - the tournament is a feast for brands. The sponsor lists include more brands like Vedantu, Astral, Dream11, Swiggy Instamart, OLX Autos, Greenply, Bira 91, Sunstone Eduversity, Pristyn Care, boAt, StockGro, Redcliff, and so on.
To dive deeper into the game, IndianTelevision.com talked to industry experts and various brands in order to understand the strategies and perspectives behind the grand welcome of IPL by brands.
A first of many
This year, IPL is going to be the first of many things- such as the first time 10 teams are participating in the IPL, Tata joined as title sponsor, for the first time 29 startups invested in IPL, 10 fintech brands are on board as sponsors and a first of many other things.
In the 15th season of IPL, two more new franchises have been added, due to which all eyes were on the ranking of IPL, its sponsorships, and investments. Experts feel that an event like IPL if used correctly, will move the needle for brands on their awareness and consideration scores.
“The key is being prepared for different outcomes, and the ability to execute relatable content on the right platform, at the right moment,” said Smartcricket.com founder and CEO Atul Srivastava who has closely seen and analyzed IPL ever since its inception.
Increased demand from investors in IPL
The 15th edition of the tournament saw a huge increase in demand among the investors. It is not just the big names like Tata who came forward to invest in the tournament, in fact, the startups are showing great interest.
The IPL is moving towards achieving mastery like LaLiga and English Premier League. From this season, the Tata Group is the new title sponsor of the IPL as Tata has won the IPL title sponsorship bidding. Disney, Sony, Reliance Jio, streaming giant Google, and Meta were in the race to get the broadcasting rights of this cricket league.
Srivastava feels IPL has shown over the years that it will continue to grow. “Despite the lockdown restrictions, the IPL is organized properly. This assures all the investors that they can trust the brand with their participation,” he added.
Startups, fintech and digital brands are running the show
Interestingly, a total of 29 start-ups came on board as sponsors. Another interesting trend that we saw this year is fintech brands’ representation in this season with the fintech startups including Cred, Slice, Paytm, Fino Payments Bank etc.
Fino Payments Bank MD and CEO Rishi Gupta said competence and sincerity are brand attributes that strongly connect Fino Payments Bank and Rajasthan Royals.
Highlighting how their partnership with Rajasthan Royals will help the brand, Gupta said RR is known to promote cricketing talent from non-metros and smaller towns, our core markets. For us, it is a great opportunity to reach out to the millennial consumer from urban and rural areas and create avenues for them to explore Fino’s digital payment offerings.
Blink Digital vice president and head of strategy Dia Kirpalani feels that digital marketers have always smartly leveraged the IPL for its ability to deliver high brand impact in a shorter duration than any other genre of content – riding the country’s sheer passion for cricket.
The Indian audience has been seeking stability in all aspects of life, given the last two years of uncertainty and turmoil. According to Kirpalani, IPL is one beloved way for them to achieve that sense of life going back to normal.
A Carnival for brands across categories
With fintech companies leading, IPL is a favorite of all types of brands. From Dream 11 launching a campaign with 17 new ad films featuring international cricketers, celebrities and social media stars to OLX Autos partnering with Star Sports, Swiggy Instamart joining hands with BCCI, Greenply joining the new franchise Lucknow as associate partner, the list of sponsors is quite huge.
On being asked about their investment in IPL for Swiggy Instamart, Swiggy head of brand Ashish Lingamneni said IPL is one of the most celebrated sports leagues in the world, and we are excited to partner with the BCCI to offer a wholesome experience to audiences with our large assortment of munchies, beverages and other snackable options through our quick commerce service Instamart.
We look forward to engaging with customers/fans and catering to their needs, be it mid-match snack cravings, beverages, and popcorn for nail-biting finishes or sweet indulgences to celebrate team victories, he said.
Addition of two new cities boosted brands’ interest in IPL
Barc data shows Lucknow and Ahmedabad are big cricket markets – they contributed 17 per cent to the overall viewership in last year’s IPL.
The addition of teams from these markets will create targeting opportunities for not just local brands but also national brands that have been wanting to establish themselves in Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat, said Kirpalani.
Lucknow and Ahmedabad are quite huge markets not just in terms of viewership but in terms of demography too. The population of these cities plays a crucial role in deciding the mood of their respective states.
Greenply, who partnered with Lucknow by featuring their logo on the right-side chest of their match day jersey, is eying to grow their business nationally.
Sharing why they were so keen to partner with this new franchise, Greenply Industries Ltd chairman cum managing director Rajesh Mittal asserted, there has been a dynamic shift in the consumer pattern towards the branded products and hence we see a lot of growth potential in the Uttar Pradesh market.
“Our three new manufacturing units will cater to serve the growing demand for plywood and allied products in this market and will cumulatively help us to grow our business operations nationally. Uttar Pradesh is an ideal investment destination for us as this market even in the current scenario is the third-largest value contributor towards our business,” he states.
With this, it is significant that the Indian Premier League will grow bigger in the future.