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Marketing Initiative

With their IPL coverage and successful brand integrations, ESPNcricinfo becomes marketers' prime choice

The coverage of IPL 2020 and the numerous successful brand integration throughout the course has earmarked ESPNcricinfo as one of the prime preferences of marketers and brands.

IPL 2020 has emerged as the tipping point for ESPNcricinfo’s growth trajectory: unique users, Video views, engagement, all of it have shown a hockey stick growth. Digital content consumption acceleration was aided through a series of differentiated original content across all its touchpoints.

225 + Hours of original video content created during the IPL saw a whopping 3 MN hours of Watch Time, with over 120% growth in Unique Users (over IPL 2019) was the statistical highlights of the platform. ESPNcricinfo channels on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter aggregated had over 15 MN active followers with 51 MN+ actions, taking it to a leadership position in the cricket news and information category1Disney-owned ESPNcricinfo has its distinctive style of covering and creating content in the unique storytelling formats

Disney-owned ESPNcricinfo has its distinctive style of covering and creating content in the unique storytelling formats.

The content strategy is simple yet effective: create content that is credible, authentic, and range-driven. The strategy has focused on curating thematic properties, co-branded initiatives that extend brand philosophy further and thereby boost engagement. The IPL 2020 mega coverage on ESPNcricinfo was a classic case in point:

ESPNcricinfo T20 TimeOut: a pre-mid & post-match analysis live show, preferred by fans and one that captured the true essence of T20 cricket with crisp real-time conversations with popular cricket experts, and extremely topical discussions. Research also shows that fans love ESPNcricinfo experts for their honest and unbiased observations about the teams’ strategies1. The show was strategically pushed across the entire ESPNcricinfo platform along with simulcast on FB & YouTube.

Whirlpool successfully used the show and the platform as an exclusive media choice for the IPL and it generated fantastic results.

The most sought-after audience for any product category that wants to reach out to a loyal-informed-attentive cricket fan in a brand-safe and uncluttered environment.

The third-party audience report from the Global Web index throws interesting insights into the ESPNcricinfo audience going beyond the demographics and regular classification metrics. Bucketing their Lifestyle, social habits, media consumption along with some interesting insights on “what makes them die-hard fans of the game and the platform?"

46% of ESPNcricinfo consumers project themselves as highly ambitious, futuristic, and well educated – an insight that also strengthens the platform’s preference as a natural alignment for premium brand categories.

Over 30% of the users own smart wearables and smart home products2 and 65% feel it important to own products with the latest technology.

ESPNcricinfo users are 2.2x more likely than the overall internet users to use a fantasy app2, which helps brands like My11Circle, target these fans on the platform.

Over 86% of the platform’s users plan to follow IPL daily either through the live game or any other form of content, indicating a good fitment for brands that look for active, engaged cricket fans3.

ESPNcricinfo worked on creating brand partnerships built on three pillars: topicality, scalability, and relatability. A series of content partnerships: each uniquely different in its presentation and visual appeal, yet all following the central strand of being collaborative and fan-centric.

Dell’s partnership enabled its premium XPS 13 and Inspiron 7000 series of laptops to be used by ESPNcricinfo anchors during the show. Their features were further highlighted through a custom-curated stunning visual montage from the three UAE host cities adding color to the cricket coverage.

A topical weekly feature where actor and presenter Aparshakti Khurana looked at the ROI made by IPL owners or franchises on players, and whether this return on investment has been good or a failure; based on their match performance. Aparshakti lent his signature style to each video, adding tongue-in-cheek takes and witty comments on the week’s proceedings and on how respective teams fared.

“I enjoyed this association with ESPNcricinfo, as it was an opportunity to look at cricket from a different angle, going beyond simple reportage and building on the core proposition as well.” - Aparshakti Khurana

Three-part brand-infused videos, each exploring unique facets of MS Dhoni, the brand ambassador of Khatabook became an autobiographical ode to one of the greatest cricketers of all time. Such content has huge viral-value and shelf life for brands to ride on.

My11circle Fantasy Pick: an always-on pioneering concept that serves as a guide for all fantasy users & potential gamers. The video show was created for major cricketing leagues, international series across the cricketing season as it became of the most-watched shows on ESPNcricinfo, with more than 70 shows during the entire IPL. The best experts of the game, the likes of Tom Moody to Ian Bishop, Gautam Gambhir to Aakash Chopra, and Deep Dasgupta lent their insights on picking the right team.

With the successful execution of multiple branded content & media partnerships, ESPNcricinfo was home to 40 + advertisers and serving each of them in the most uncluttered and brand-safe environment. Various brand lift studies conducted across the top advertisers showed an average uplift of + 30% in brand saliency metrics like favorability, advocacy, TOM recall. ESPNcricinfo emerged as the most favored platform across brand categories that provides a positive uplift to their mid-funnel advertising KPIs.

With their IPL coverage and successful brand integrations, ESPNcricinfo becomes marketers' prime choice

As Umesh Krishna K, Director – Marketing, Swiggy adds, “Swiggy has frequently associated with Cricket to reap the synergies from coupling entertainment and food. Cricinfo has been integral to drive consistent visibility for us, thanks to the high engagement and coverage that it enjoys. This holds true especially in IPL 2020 where the audience interest peaked at an all-time high."

The IPL 2021 has already kick-started with 7 hours of non-stop live analysis of concluded IPL 14 auction, with the ESPNcricinfo team of statisticians, cricketer’s & analysts dissecting each micro-moments: Players value, team formation, each bid, success, failures, and likely team combinations.

There is a huge surge in fan chatter, consumption, and engagement with the anticipation of the mega tournament round the corner.

ESPNcricinfo promises to bring the 2021 edition in its full glory – as India gets ready to host the tournament on its soil.

References and Data Sources:
1 The Distillery, Disney-Star's central business intelligence practice, for data-driven decision making.
2 GlobalWebIndex Report | Q3 2020
3 ESPN Research and Insights | August 2020