There has been no other sport than Cricket to receive an unending and ever-increasing love by Indians. In fact, it is more than just a sport. For a nation with a population of more than 1.3 billion, cricket acts as a connecting thread. Be it for the general public, the brands, the advertisers, or simply the partners, cricket is the one sure shot bet that will deliver results. It is the one language the entire country understands.
India's cricket fever isn't new but has stayed and progressed over the years. As mass media grew, cricket grew along, making more Indians fall in love with the sport and its vibe. The entire country gets hooked to TV screens when India plays a match which explains the kind of popularity the sport enjoys.
It is easy to measure the extent of exposure a brand can receive by associating itself with Cricket. Be it the Indian Premier League (IPL), the International Cricket Council's Champion's Trophy (ICC CT), or the recently concluded ICC Women's Cricket World Cup, a cricket tournament is bound to bring brands and advertisers together and cut through geographical boundaries to reach the target audience, making such properties one of the most sought after events in the marketing calendar of brands. The final match of the ICC CT 2017, played between India and Pakistan, saw the highest reach for any one-day event in the BARC history (268 millions) and grossed a whopping 895 million impressions.
The recently concluded ICC Women's World Cup had 463 million impressions, with the Final's itself reaching nearly 126 million viewers. The numbers are proof enough of the massive reach and scale of the sport in India.
With such a mammoth reach, it becomes pertinent for brands to get associated with these properties. Nissan Motor India Private Ltd. (NMIPL), a 100% subsidiary of Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. Japan, entered into an 8-year deal with ICC that will run through 2023 and became the global partner for ICC CT 2017, which had a cumulative reach of 418 million in mere 18 days.
Sharing his views on why his client (Nissan) decided to get associated with cricket, Ashish Bhatnagar, Managing Director - North, Omnicom Media Group, said, "In 2015, Nissan joined hands with International Cricket Council (ICC) to further strengthen its ties with global sport. As a global partner, Nissan has extensive in-venue activation, broadcast, and digital rights at all ICC events. Champions Trophy - biggest international cricketing event of 2017 coincided with the Nissan Motor India Private Limited marketing calendar, a strategic decision thus to invest on CT 2017 via TV & OTT. We used the platform to launch two new communications, the Ignite 2.0 for Nissan & #Voteforchange for Datsun."
Similarly, brands gain massive traction through such a huge scale and popular sporting event. Responding to how ICC CT 2017 benefitted brands, Pratik Mazumder, Vice President and Head of Department, Marketing, Times Internet said, "A total of 105 million users followed the ICC CT on Cricbuzz and 16 billion page views were recorded during the world event. Cricbuzz's app userbase grew by 3.5 million and the average daily active user base was 20 million. Cricbuzz recorded a 70% increase in traffic during ICC Champions Trophy."
With such impressive reach statistics, it can safely be concluded that cricket, as a property, today remains on a steady growth track. With the new season of Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL) getting underway and India hosting Australia, New Zealand, and Sri Lanka in a home season during Diwali, cricket and its golden days are here to stay. There stands no doubt that it will continue to increase its popularity and will keep attracting brands and advertisers alike as it is a brilliant as well as the ultimate vehicle to reach massive audience in the country.