I think one of the key aspects that work in favour of kabaddi is the unique activations.

Melroy D'Souza

Chief Operating Officer, Professional Management Group
By Sudipto Adhicary , New Delhi
Last updated : October 10, 2018 11:55 AM

Aggressive marketing, improving the quality of content, corporate and government backing, and franchise model, have made Kabaddi a popular sport for the consumers. And with the second highest TVR and comprehensive on-ground and on-air integrations, PKL and consequently Kabaddi has given marketers an alternative option.

We interviewed Mr. Melroy D'Souza, Chief Operating Officer, Professional Management Group (a sports marketing company which is part of the Madison World), to know his views on Kabaddi along with Lalit Agrawal, Head OMD India - West, and M. Krishna Kumar, Consulting Marketing Head - Kerala Vision Channel (Ex. Business Director - Maxus Global).

Edited Excerpts

The culture of watching and playing sports, besides cricket, has gained ground in India. What factors do you attribute this growth to?

The key factors attributing to this growth are:

. Aggressive Media Marketing
. Making the content of International quality and television friendly
. Educating viewers of the sport
. Good International Performances by Indian Athletes in sports like Badminton, Football etc
. Increase in corporate and government backing
. Franchise model which helps grow the sport in different regions

Kabaddi is now a popular sport among kids and now that it is growing in scale, it will still continue to attract the tier 2 and tier 3 markets? How does that work for you?

One of the key focus areas of Kabaddi are kids. This is because Star Sports has identified that for the sport to grow further, active participation by kids is important wherein they need to play the sport or watch / support the sport being played by their peers. Hence the Kabaddi Kids initiative by Star Sports wherein they go out to more than 2000 schools.

With the addition of four new teams in season 5, PKL became India's biggest sporting league in terms of geographical representation with 12 franchises from 11 states on board. How would you predict its growth trajectory?

Kabaddi has had a phenomenal growth trajectory over the last 4 years. The league by itself has now matured with its structure in relation to its format and franchises. The last PKL saw an average BARC TVR of 1.5 for M15 AB U+R, CUM Reach. It reached out to over 313 MN people. The sport will now look to consolidate its growth but will try and increase its reach in Urban markets. This is key for advertisers.

Looking at the growth trajectory of PKL what gives it an edge and makes it a marketer's favourite?

I think Cricket is still a marketers favourite. However it has given advertisers an alternate option. The reason why the sport has an edge with marketers is as follows:

. Comprehensive integration - on ground and on air
. Strong brand integration on live TV
. Accessibility to players for campaign
. Cover the length and breadth with 12 teams
. Second highest TVR after cricket

A league like PKL offers brands an opportunity for some unique activations, how can brands take advantage of such opportunities by doing customized activations.

I think one of the key aspect that works in favour of Kabaddi, is the unique activations. Besides Gillette, the Mutual Funds Sahi Hai integration is another initiative which strikes out. The usage of the players as common people investing in Mutual Funds and removing the myths surrounding it was a brilliant campaign. The usage of players and their active integration during the matches (TVC + Live Integration + Digital) is an opportunity for brands to relay the stories and relate to the masses.

Points Of View

In 4 years' time, the way PKL has grown and consequently Kabaddi, it is not hard to picture it as a rival to its cricketing sibling IPL. However, there's still a lot left. Digital and TV viewership metrics, meaningful associations, and high-level consumer engagements, are yet to be explored completely. With leagues like PKL offering a good mix of on-air visibility along with on-ground activation opportunities, how best do you think marketers can leverage this relatively new property?

Lalit Agrawal
Head OMD India - West

Lalit Agrawal Lalit Agrawal

Kabaddi is an opportunity for advertisers who want to associate with the sport from a long term perspective. Cricket costs are prohibitive for a lot of advertisers and hence this poses as an opportunity as the sport develops. While the standard visibility and branding options can be leveraged to build salience, I believe the real benefit lies in building 'True associations' that go beyond the norms and benefit the brand and the sport together.

To build such associations one has to first understand where the brand is plotted in the 'circle of influence' of the sport. Brands that fall in the inner circle, for instance an health drink, sports apparel... etc have to find out the tension point that they are trying to solve in their consumer's life and how the sport can help drive that message strongly. Other brands that fall in the outer circle, should look for synergies in the higher order metrics like brand values or what the brand stands for.

This way advertisers will be able to come up with associations that will not only resonate with the consumers from a long term perspective but also with the broadcasters since it will be a win-win situation.

M.Krishna Kumar M.Krishna Kumar

M. Krishna Kumar
Consulting Marketing Head - Kerala Vision Channel (Ex. Business Director - Maxus Global)

More than 120 brands were active during season 5. Vivo ( title sponsor of Rs.300cr deal - 5 year deal) and other brands such as TVS Motors, Lux Cozi, etc who had an investment of Rs.12 - 15cr each as well. Its an opportunity for the Regional/local brands and can benefit if done with a better impact. For brands who didn't associate with huge money in IPL , this is a very good opportunity . Women viewers are increasing across non Cricketing sports and there are brands from Kerala who are active in Pan Indian market, I think they should explore PKL as it benefits from higher visibility through On air and On ground properties as well. Even its popular sporting event I think there is still a lot left, need more consumer engagements, popularise as one of the Value for Money with better ROIs, need to promote with new brand opportunities because this is a growing sport and there is a fantastic opportunity where brands can also build their Brand image/equity and also can help this sport by motivating the Youth Indians to play it.

First published : September 12, 2018 12:00 AM