The power of sports entertainment in a country like India needs little acknowledgment. India as a country dwells on sports entertainment and idolizes its heroes on the field. Harboring massive tractions from sports enthusiasts across the country, sports viewership in India runs at an all-time high. However, among the many popular sports in India, there is one that has ascended from being a sport to becoming a full-fledged religion. Yes, you got it right; we are indeed talking about the game of cricket.
93% of the sports viewership in India comes from Cricket, while a total of 362 million viewers come just from the Indian Premier League. With 43 billion impressions in 2016 the traction scaled upwards to 51 billion impressions, registering a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9 per cent, according to the report that comes amidst the ICC Cricket World Cup. These figures reveal the big-time benefits of sports sponsorships, with exposure being the prime highlight. As a result, this provides emerging brands and start-ups that are looking to maximize reach, brand awareness and overall brand recall an opportunity to go the extra mile and grab major attention.
Over the years we’ve seen myriad brands invade the sports sponsorship space and this has increased with the passage of time. One of the top reasons for this gradual growth is the wide variety of viewership demographics. But what makes sports sponsorships truly worthwhile for brands is the massive audience that they are able to reach out to, resulting in a correlatively high ROI. With new brands joining the bandwagon each year, the IPL qualifies as the perfect arcade for this model.
Talking about what makes cricket the first choice of brands with regards to sports sponsorship, here’s what Sameer Nigam (CEO and Founder, PhonePe) had to say, "The focus of last year’s brand campaign was on building awareness around digital payments for both rural and urban audiences. A mass media platform such as TV offered us the perfect opportunity to do so as it is the medium with the largest reach in the country. Cricket is the most popular sport in the country and VIVO IPL is the biggest sporting event of the year. We therefore felt it was the right platform to launch our new brand campaign with Aamir Khan and create awareness about digital payments and PhonePe.”
Expressing the benefits of associating with the IPL, Srivats TS (VP Marketing, Swiggy) said, “Swiggy has been an associate broadcast sponsor of IPL two years in a row and has delivered some of the most memorable commercials of the cricketing season. Riding on the campaign’s success and continuing with the ‘What a Delivery’ theme, last year, Swiggy brought back six new commercials that celebrated India’s undying love for Cricket and Food in the most witty and relatable manner. The core message of the campaign was simple as it highlighted how Swiggy is allowing consumers the convenience of enjoying the cricketing action while it takes care of all their food needs. Shot in an entertaining and tongue-in-cheek manner, the ads were inspired by everyday situations with simple storylines and minimum dialogues. Swiggy's IPL TVCs are reflective of the national brand that Swiggy is today. Post the last IPL campaign, we had millions of users download the app, waiting for Swiggy to go live in their cities. At Swiggy we saw strong business results across key metrics including new user growth as well as repeat user growth through the campaign. We saw phenomenal engagement on Swiggy Sixes as a property with over a million users using the Swiggy Sixes during IPL.”
IPL is an anchor in the regular Indian home and it dictates sports viewership while its time on air. Interestingly, in its 11th edition it dominated the annual cricket viewership by 40 percent, with 50 percent IPL viewers aged below 30 years. Moreover, the impact on the advertising industry and e-commerce has emerged as the dominant sector with share of ads going up from 14 per cent in 2016 to 42 per cent in 2018. These figures are indicative of the importance and power of sports on television, and especially cricket.