How does Dream11 benefits from IPL sponsorship

Dream11 has managed to get the sponsorship title at nearly half the price to what Vivo was paying.

NEW DELHI: Yesterday, the announcement around Fantasy sports platform Dream11 bagging the title sponsorship rights for IPL 2020 made it to news outlet across the world. The fantasy league platform won the right for Rs 222 crore and replaced the Chinese mobile phone brand, Vivo, for a four-and-a-half-month deal. For the record, Vivo this year pulled off the association due to the ongoing Indo-Sino tensions across after the border.

Dream11 has managed to get the sponsorship title at nearly half the price to what Vivo was paying. Vivo signed the title sponsorship rights with BCCI for five years till 2021 at Rs 2,199 core. The Chinese smartphone brand was paying approximately Rs 440 crore per year to BCCI whereas Dream11 has only spent Rs 222 cr.

According to Dream Sports (Dream11) CEO & co-founder Harsh Jain, "The launch of IPL in 2008 gave birth to the idea of Dream11. We would like to thank the BCCI for giving us an opportunity to become the Title Sponsor of IPL, which in our opinion is the world’s greatest sports property. We are happy to continue building our partnership with BCCI & IPL to further promote sports fan engagement in India, and look forward to 10 Crore+ Indians making their Dream11 for every Dream11 IPL match.”

Founded by Jain and Bhavit Sheth, the brand became India’s first gaming unicorn in April 2019. In the last few years, Dream11 has scaled up the brand proposition in the market while creating a niche for itself. The fantasy game app in the last two years has associated with multiple sports platforms like ICC, IPL, and PKL. They have roped in former Indian cricket team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, the face of the brand that has helped them garner consumers' attention effectively . The brand has expanded its wings with the launch of Fancode and DreamX.

Good Deal

Dream11 is already a sponsor to several IPL teams and has grown in leaps and bounds in the recent past.

Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist, who was closely involved with cricket sponsorship as the executive VP Marketing of PepsiCo defines the deal a great opportunity to cement itself as the clear leader in fantasy and online gaming. "They now establish themselves firmly on consumers' minds ahead of MyTeam11 and My 11circle and Howzat. This is an opportunity to come in as title sponsor at a 50% discount," mentions Mathias.

Top of the Mind Recall

There is no doubt that Dream11 has emerged as the torchbearer of this category in India and has grown in leaps and bounds. From a base of two million users in 2016, fantasy gaming platform has over 90 million users, according to a report by accounting firm KPMG published earlier this year. They have built a strong social media community. Several reports suggest that the brand clocked revenue of Rs 700 cr in FY19.

The association with IPL will generate a massive reach and exposure of the brand not just across India but beyond the borders also.

Dentsu One president Harjot Singh Narang defines that the BCCI and Dream 11 coming together is the best way to synergise each other’s reach to make IPL this year really come back with a bang and use this to fulfill marketing and monetisation goals in a market with a pent-up demand. 

He further added, "For Dream 11 particularly this is their moment to make it big and target catapulting themselves to a national pastime contender with the fantasy sports world. Dream 11 needed a moment in the spotlight for this jump and have aptly invested behind the country’s passion to power that leap just like great brands like Pepsi, CocaCola, Crick Info, etc. 

Cricket tournaments and IPL, in particular, is the single most visible platform for any brand to gain extensive reach and frequency of exposure with their potential audience in India and Dream 11 will definitely get a solid bang for its buck".

Dream11’s association with sports has grown over the years and it is presently partnering a total of 19 sporting leagues along with 6 Indian Premier League Franchises.

Due to the prevailing Covid2019 situation in India, the IPL is happening this year in UAE whereas other marquee global sporting events like the Olympics and Wimbledon have been pushed to 2021. Participating brands will see a huge jump in TV viewership given the total absence of live sporting entertainment in the market over the past 6 months. 

Mathias mentions that IPL gives huge awareness and adoption. In a span of 50 days a brand can establish itself in consumer minds across a broad demographic. He adds, “They see cricket as the shortest route to grow exponentially – and outpace their competitors.”

Future Partner

The one thing which is still not clear is whether or not Vivo will be making a comeback next year? However, there are speculations that BCCI will opt for a fresh bid next year. Even if Vivo doesn’t return, BCCI has decided not to go with the same amount as it is comparatively lower. 

Since the title sponsorship, this year has been awarded at half price; will this hurt the brand value of IPL in the long run when it will choose a new sponsor next year? 

Mathias believes that  “as far as the IPL is concerned there is virtually no loss of brand value. The biggest chunk of IPL’s revenues accrues from the STAR TV network who guarantee US $2.55 billion to the BCCI as an official broadcaster – so about US $ 500 million (Rs 3800 cr) a season. The drop in the price of the title sponsorship by half -about Rs 220 cr - is tiny in comparison.”

It has been widely reported that the educational platform Unacademy and Bjyus were also in the sponsorship race. Unacademy had bid Rs 210 crore while Byju's had bid Rs 125 crore for the same period. Byju’s is the current jersey sponsor of the Indian cricket team. Even Tata Sons too showed interest in bagging the sponsorship rights, but the deal couldn’t take place due to the lower bidding offer. The Indian startup ecosystem is very keen on sports marketing (mainly cricket).

Havas Media Group MD– India Mohit Joshi states that ed-tech is a sunrise sector currently and has a huge untapped potential in India. “Indian start-up ecosystem has always been associated with impact driving properties – whether it was the jackets in publications or the sponsorships of big-ticket programming in yesteryears. This year, IPL association is one of the biggest impact driving opportunities available, and hence it’s but natural that the Indian start-up ecosystem will be keen to associate with it.”

However, there is a section of people who have not taken the news of BCCI & Dream11 association in the positive light because the latter has investments from Tencent Holdings, a Chinese investment firm.

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