Mumbai: Sport consultancy and agency, FairPlay Sports handles brands, business, endorsement deals and public image for athletes in various disciplines. Saina Nehwal, Karun Nair, Sunil Chhetri, Sachin Baby, and Prasidh Krishna are just a few of the athletes it represents. Additionally, it forms brand alliances with competitions like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Indian Super League (ISL).
When discussing the company's plans and objectives for the year with Indiantelevision.com, Fairplay Sports founder Bandana Chhetri mentioned that the company provides athlete endorsements, digital brand campaigns and partnerships, IPL/ISL and other prominent league brand partnerships, and athlete management.
She further explains that the company does not really set goals based on deadlines because the sports sponsorship business is so dynamic.
"However, as an agency, we are constantly working on the development of our athletes and, at the same time, encouraging more brands to collaborate with these real-life inspirations every subsequent year," Chhetri said.
She added, "It’s our responsibility to ensure that every athlete we represent can explore commercial opportunities outside the field of play. We also work with various sports leagues and franchises and are always pursuing mutually beneficial partnerships between a brand and the league or sports team. Through these associations, we help the brands understand the power of sports marketing better."
Speaking about the company’s gameplan, Chhetri said, "It is simple." She added, "We are a team of highly driven and skilled individuals who eat, sleep, and breathe sports. We constantly speak to various brands across the country and introduce the growing scope of investment in sports and athletes in India. The requirements of modern-day athletes are much more as compared to traditional times, and our team ensures that the athletes that we represent only need to focus on their challenges on the field; everything else we take care of."
Chhetri further explained that the company’s experience of working at various levels in the sports industry has given it expertise in sports marketing and partnerships, because of which some of the top brands trust its research in the field. "On the other hand, athletes trust us because we not only understand the market, but also have a deep understanding of the game they play as well. As mentioned earlier, we eat, sleep and breathe sports as a team, and we feel that the mix of experience and passion is what makes us stand out as an agency," she mentioned.
She further added that the agency started small with the focus resting on athletes who trust the agency and services since day one and have been a part of the FairPlay Sports family ever since. "Our dedication towards our work attracted more talented athletes, and we were ready to take the leap once we were ready as a team. From just five athletes back when we started off, today we proudly and exclusively manage more than 60 talented athletes from various sports," she said.
On talking about the impact of Covid, she said that it was indeed a bump since so many sports events were delayed or cancelled, not to mention the fact that marketing budgets got frozen. During that time, however, we shifted our focus to enabling digital partnerships and associations, and many of our athletes participated in philanthropic campaigns and activities. Once the virus had subsided, sports were one of the main things that brought some joy to a stressed population, and we were extremely proud to be associated with projects like ISL and IPL, which were conducted during Covid and worked towards spreading a feeling of winning against all odds."
She explained that a lot of research has been done on marrying an athlete with a brand. "First, we always try to understand the objectives of the brand and then design a dedicated plan as per the budget and goals. Thanks to the variety of athletes that we work with and our good relationship with various sports leagues, we are able to design an effective campaign for brands which assists them in reaching their overall marketing goals," Chhetri added.
In terms of deals that were recently done between sponsors and sports organisations that the agency facilitated, she names IPL franchise Lucknow Super Giants teaming up with Gigabyte Aorus for the previous IPL season. Gigabyte Technology and its gaming brand AORUS, the associate sponsor of Lucknow Super Giants, launched the franchise's metaverse. With the launch, the company aims to maximise the potential of online fan engagement experiences and to help the team and fans get closer.
It has recently partnered with athletes from companies like Fire-boltt, Budweiser, and Boost. She added that when the company signs an athlete for representation for two years, it is a good time for both sides to understand the other. "It takes time to build up momentum with an athlete, and having a talent on board for two years [if not more] helps both parties evaluate the progress fairly," Chhetri added at length.