IPL and festive season to boost marketing sentiments: Experts

IPL to impact GEC's in the festive season?

NEW DELHI: The Covid2019 has not only crushed the global economy, but it has badly impacted the live sporting events across the world. Every sporting event was canceled or postponed due to the virus, including the Olympic 2020. While some of the games resumed in Europe and the US, there has been a major upheaval in the sporting calendar.

India's mecca of sports, Indian Premier League (IPL) is all set to take-off from 19 September in UAE, and cricket fans are eagerly waiting for this sporting event. organized a virtual round table to discuss more on the current state and future of Live Sports in India. The round table witnessed several industry veterans sharing their opinions and insights on the subject. These veterans included - Mindshare South Asia, COO Amin Lakhani; Dentsu Aegis Network CEO APAC & Chairman Ashish Bhasin; Byju’s head of marketing Atit Mehta; Future Group’s group CMO (Marketing, digital, and e-commerce) Pawan Sarda; IPG Mediabrands CEO- India Shashi Sinha; Group M India business head (Entertainment, Sports & Live Events) Vinit Karnik. The discussion was moderated by Group Founder, CEO & Editor-in-Chief Anil Wanvari.

Hence, the question being asked is: will the IPL’s overlap with the festive season lead to a drop in viewership for the GECs and advertising dollars being sucked out from them towards the league?

DAN CEO APAC & chairman Ashish Bhasin exclaimed, “It will depend on how much marketers are willing to shell out, and the next three months will disclose how marketers are going to make their next move. Covid2019 has taught us to be more adaptable. Decision-making has become more agile.”

Talking about anti-china sentiments, he said, “I don't think there will be any impact on Chinese brands. I see it as a temporary blip, and it won't impact IPL significantly.”

Experts hope that this festive season will bring back the cheer among consumers to buy, which will eventually help the brands. “IPL will be a great stimulator to the festive season,” shares IPG Mediabrand CEO - India Shashi Sinha.

Group M India business head Vinit Karnik describes the upcoming months as very crucial. “From now, India will see three big festivals ­- Ganpati, Durga Puja, and Diwali. However, the fourth festival, in this pandemic, will be IPL. My optimism comes from the conversations we have had in the past 2-3 weeks, which have been very encouraging. People are willing to spend on this little festival, and that’s an opportunity for us.”

Therefore, the question being asked is: Can we see marketers investing in spot buying instead of buying packages deals during this IPL?

Mindshare South Asia COO Amin Lakhani affirms, “As we move forward, people are taking calculative decisions. The window is open till November end, and a lot of brands depending on their strategy will take a call, and these packages will make a bulk of consumption from the IPL perspective. There are a few clients who are evaluating their positions and want to be a part of it, but it depends on how the business shapes up.”

He believes that IPL is a wonderful opportunity, and brands are willing to be a part of it. They are making initial strategies on how they want to participate.

On brand sponsorship, Karnik says that this will have a huge impact on teams as most of the team sponsors rally with IPL for two reasons- brand saliency and activation. “With IPL going abroad, the activation point gets moot, and for team sponsorships, the numbers will be 12-25 per cent downward for team sponsorships point of view.”

It has been widely reported that for this edition of IPL, Star India has set a target of Rs 3,000 crore in advertising.

According to Sinha, “If the broadcaster reaches closer to last year's ad sales number, it will be a good sign. While the overall industry is still not doing well in terms of performance, but categories work in terms of sponsorship. It will not be as bad as people think.”

Bhasin states that even the last two generations haven’t faced anything like this, so it is unfair to expect that this year is going to be the same as the last one. The context is where we are as compared to three years ago.

He further says, "In this pandemic, digital consumption has reached its highest level. Digital companies have benefitted, and many of them are funded companies. They are in a much better position than many others."

However, he believes that the only exception is live sports because you need a bigger screen. “The skew of ad spends is towards digital, but it is not at the cost of TV. Digital segment will just open up more opportunities.”

It will be interesting to see how the next three months pan and will advertisers open up their purses.

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