afaqs! spoke with Media Heads at agencies to understand the impact of live cricketing events and how big is the advertising fervour for the WT20, especially with the international event coinciding with the festive season.
Team India is ready to take on the international stage keeping the spirit of live sporting events alive. With the next two months packed with an uninterrupted cricketing experience, Captain Virat Kohli and his team will look to avenge the defeat of the 2016 edition of the World T20. Patriotic fervour along with multi-nation rivalries make World T20 an unmatched show. With T20 fever taking over the festive season, brands and advertisers will be keen to ride the wave.
R. Venkatasubramanian, president & national head - investments, Havas Media Group India, says, “T20 as a format is the most popular and most watched format across all forms of cricket. World Cups are about creating global supremacy for your country and establishing oneself as the best in the world. This sporting spirit is reflected in everyone during a World Cup, especially an India-Pakistan encounter, which turns even a fence sitter into an avid follower. World Cups are topical events not only on social media but also amongst peer groups, colleagues, social circles, etc.”
Nikhil Vyas, managing partner & CEO, ITW Mediaworx, adds, “Marquee events such as IPL and World Cup bring a whole new sense of euphoria in the advertising world. While we know that we call cricket a religion in India, there is more to it, Cricket is a serious business. The event attracts the biggest, leading brands as investors. In media, there is no bigger property than an IPL or a World Cup. These tournaments deliver highest reach, year on year basis and hence have the power to impact consumer behavior.”
Over 91% of urban homes in India watched the ICC WC 2019, according to a BARC report. As per the TVISION Attention Report Part 2, World Cups enjoy an attention index of 173 as compared to the attention index of 159 on live cricket. This only showcases the support of a cricket-frenzy nation against the international competition which is expected to skyrocket the nationalistic sentiment and make this edition an indelible experience. Also, the timing couldn’t have been better. With the festive season right around the corner, the participation and celebration are expected to be grandiose for fans as well as marketers.
“Specifically this year with the two large marquee cricketing properties (IPL and WT20) back-to-back, it’s absolutely a huge opportunity for brands. WT20 holds a strong sentimental value…there are Indian matches that will anyway see an increasing interest from fans and brands but the matches between marquee nations won’t be missed too.” says, Kishan Kumar, chief growth officer, Wavemaker India.
Interestingly, the engagement and viewership on non-India matches are almost equivalent to that of India bilateral ODI matches. Some interesting matches in the fixture include defending champions West Indies in Group 1 with England, Australia and South Africa, along with two qualifiers. Then there’s India, Pakistan, New Zealand, Afghanistan and two 2 qualifiers in Group 2. Especially, with T20 being a fast-paced cricketing format, the proposition of top teams across the world battling for the prestigious title, makes it an interesting watch and further, higher levels of engagement are anticipated.
Advertising clutter is one of the major challenges faced by marketers while deciding the channels/platforms to advertise on. As per TVISION Attention Report India, In comparison to live cricket, reality shows and Drama/Daily Soap have 44% and 33% lesser attention rates respectively. Also, live cricket tends to have high attention than GECs like Big Boss and KBC during the simultaneous airing. As per Vyas, “Live cricket viewing in primetime has the potential to affect any other content out there, it’s the power of sport, more so of cricket in India’s case.”
With the event falling in the festive season, experts believe that the interest from brands is expected to be higher. Categories like fantasy gaming, crypto, fintech, e-commerce, edtech and other digital-first brands are expected to be keen on this opportunity as this offers a chance to reach out to the pan-India audience. Over the years, the categorisation has become diverse with most of the big spenders continuing their partnership, while newer brands continue to associate themselves with the sport and its IPs. Kumar calls this a fundamental shift and adds, “It’s like a Super Bowl event where some of the best creative communication could also be witnessed.”
All in all, the upcoming edition is all set to test the country’s finest cricketers, end the 5-year long wait since the last edition of the WT20 and witness some novel initiatives and campaigns by brands.