Cricket, which was originally a British game has long been adopted and favoured by most Indians. The long duration of the game has now been shortened to 20 overs called the T20.
In 2007, the Board of Cricket Control of India (BCCI) announced the launch of a T20 cricket competition called the Indian Premier League (IPL). The sporting event was introduced to ensure a long-term steady stream of revenue for the Board of Control.
With the launch of IPL, the sports got a new glamour and attracted the attention of businessmen, celebrities and fans from across the globe.
The reasons for IPL’s success lie in the entertainment value it carries. The IPL is one of the most popular platforms for advertising. In return, IPL earns its revenue from advertising for its viewership, reach and popularity.
The most astonishing thing about IPL was that during the Covid-19 pandemic, BCCI’s revenue went from Rs. 2000 crore to Rs. 4000 crores. Today, the brand value of IPL stands at $4.7 billion.
The most attractive point of IPL is the audience demography. The matches are suitable for any age group.
Due to online streaming platforms like Disney+Hotstar, Voot, Jio Cinemas, etc., they are easily accessible. Another advantage is the 3-hour format. The matches are scheduled on weekdays from 7:30 p.m. onwards and double headers on weekends.
The brand endorsements by cricket players and the fantasy sports platforms have all made it a very lucrative avenue for promotions.
Thus, leveraging this billion-dollar sport-tainment industry will bring you a very high return on investment.
Here are a few commonly used marketing strategies in IPL:
- Social Media Marketing – Social media like Twitter, Instagram and Meta give real-time updates and are used to create hype around the match or event. Live streaming, polls, discussions, and contests are used to engage the audience. Social media fan clubs are the best way to engage with your audience.
- Influencer Partnerships – Collaborating with popular influencers, celebrities, and sports personalities helps to gain traction. IPL has the glamour quotient brought by the celebrities and popular personalities associated with it. This can be leveraged to create sponsored content, share behind-the-scenes glimpses, or actively participate in pre-match discussions to generate buzz.
- Merchandise and Licensing – As the popularity increases so does the fans’ attachment to the game. It leads to demand for team merchandise like jerseys, t-shirts, caps, bags, collectables, etc. You can license with the franchisors for IPL-themed products and further expand the reach and visibility of your company.
- In-stadium promotion – In-stadium promotion means purchasing space to display your hoarding or flex, distributing pamphlets, and sponsoring entertainment activities like music performances, cheerleading squads, and interactive games during breaks can lead to brand awareness and visibility.
A mobile company like Oppo chose the IPL season to launch itself in India. This move caught the attention of a large audience and saved them the advertising costs in building brand awareness.
- Moment Marketing – Capitalizing on the key moments in the game or engaging your audience in a discussion or poll on the match outcome. Moment marketing acts as an instant connection with your audience. It makes you relevant and trending.
- Content Marketing – Try to build a connection with the audience that engages well with blog posts or another type of written content. A review or prediction post enhances audience engagement.
- Establish a connection – IPL and marketing strategies go hand-in-hand if you can establish a connection with the league. Create a direct or indirect association with the game, and establish a connection with the league.
Example – Pipo is a snack brand that wanted to reach out to the younger audience. The idea was to establish it as the preferred brand for game-time snacking. It used a combination of moment marketing and influencer marketing to establish that connection through a well-executed social media strategy. The campaign made 10 million+ impressions and more than 7 million engagements in the form of likes, shares & comments making it a successful marketing strategy.
Marketing efforts make or break brands. Hence, leveraging it correctly reaps maximum returns on your investment. IPL is a capitalistic miracle that has given a platform to many brands to boost their marketing efforts successfully.
A keen understanding of these platforms and how to use them to your advantage requires a strong functional knowledge of marketing.
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