afaqs!

IPL teams go strong on below-the-line

By Chhavi Tyagi , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Advertising | February 17, 2009
Be it Delhi Daredevils, Chennai Super Kings or Kings XI Punjab, the teams are going on-ground to increase consumer engagement with their respective franchisees

As the debut of the second season of the Indian Premier League draws near, the frenzy is mounting. After the recently concluded player auction in Goa, the IPL teams are busy preparing the ground, literally, for season 2.

While the Delhi Daredevils are building a fan club for all their current and prospective supporters, the Chennai Super Kings are not just working on increasing the number of their fan club members, which was inaugurated a month ago, but are going all out with a strong on-ground strategy for holding events. Kings XI Punjab is not far behind with on-ground initiatives in their catchment area.

Delhi & #BANNER1 & # Daredevils recently called for a pitch for a project to build its Fan Club. Showtime Events bagged the project after a final battle with Wizcraft International Entertainment. Showtime Events will work towards increasing the franchisee's connect with its fans, keeping fans updated on the team's activities, along with providing an array of benefits for the fan club members.

Amrit Mathur, head of GMR Sports, owner of the Delhi Daredevils, says, "This is an initiative to increase the participation of the team's fans with the franchisee. Apart from increasing the tempo for the IPL season, through this club, we will work hard to sustain the interest of our fans and engage them throughout the year with the franchisee."

Michael Menezes, managing director, Showtime Group, talks about the project. "The club is all about building the bond between the team and its fans. We were interested in the project and GMR Sports recognised our passion. What worked in our favour was our passion for the game and also the fact that Delhi is our base."

Showtime Events, along with GMR Sports, is working on providing the Delhi Daredevils' fan club members with several cricket-based advantages. For instance, members will get access to a Special Members Stand at the home ground, along with discounts on match tickets. They will be invited to attend team practice sessions, get to meet the players at social engagements post the matches, will get the opportunity to go for the team's matches in Jaipur and Mohali and will also be in constant dialogue with players online. In addition, members also get access to discounts on official merchandise and special offers from alliance partners.

Apart from that, a special initiative will be taken to involve schools and colleges with the team. Many on-ground activities will be held in schools and colleges of Delhi and NCR to increase the fan base.

GMR Sports plans to not just work towards increasing fan club membership, but also foster sporting activity at the school and college level. For this, a percentage of the money raised for membership from the students in schools and colleges will be given back to the respective institutions. While the regular member fee for the fan club is Rs 999, school and college students will be required to pay a marginal sum of Rs 99 for the membership.

Moreover, Showtime Events will be responsible for keeping the engagement levels of the members on a high throughout the year, and not just during the IPL season.

Menezes says, "After the season gets over, all the excitement dies and nobody talks about it anymore, until the next season comes up. We'll be working through many activities to retain the interest of the club members' alive by making them participate in online activities, like keeping up with the news on the team or providing them with offers on merchandise. In schools and colleges, we'll keep up with the sporting events."

Chennai Super Kings is also working on an on-ground strategy to solidify its base in Chennai and with all the fans of the franchisee. The team has retained Show Space, a Chennai based events and exhibitions company, which handled its on-ground events and exhibitions last year.

K Hariharan and J Sreekanth, directors of Show Space, say, "Our primary responsibility is to get enough crowds to come for the team's matches. For that, we are not only working on the pre and post matches events to be hosted in the stadia, but we are also planning a good lead-up campaign to the IPL."

Show Space is also responsible for the cheerleading squad of the team, which was in the news last year for being the first all-Indian cheerleading group.

The company will also hold a parallel Beach Cricket tournament for all the fans, while the IPL teams battle it out in the stadiums.

Kings XI Punjab has worked out a co-sponsorship with Winter Carnival of Manali, which is an endeavour to promote sports and cultural activities in the valley. The event was flagged off with several promotional road shows that covered Amritsar, Ludhiana and Jalandhar.

Apart from this, Kings XI Punjab recently organised a Kings XI Punjab Cup tournament in Mohali. Also, the franchisee, held and promoted by a consortium -- which includes industrialists Mohit Burman, Karan Paul, Ness Wadia and actor, Preity Zinta -- is hosting all-India open trials on February 16 and 17, with the aim of polishing the skills of the budding cricketers in India.

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