IPL 2020 pays off huge dividends to brands’ investments during pandemic times

The overall value of the Indian Premier League (IPL) ecosystem increased by approx 13.5 per cent – from Rs 41,800 crore to Rs 47,500 crore in 2019, as per Duff & Phelps’ ‘IPL Brand Valuation Report 2019’. Delayed by a few months and held amid the global pandemic outside India and in empty stadiums, IPL 2020 faced the toughest of challenges, yet for numerous brands, the 13th edition of IPL has come as a lifeline to beat the 20-20 pandemic blues.

Dream11 IPL 2020 has silenced all scepticisms and delivered in terms of engagement, affinity and viewership, reflected through the higher number of games watched. The tournament clocked the highest ever opening day TV and Digital viewership of 20 crore people worldwide. According to a Star Sports spokesperson, “Significant consumption growth in viewership was seen in IPL 2020. IPL 2019 had 326 billion minutes consumption (TV only), this year’s IPL has already surpassed that mark with just 50 out of 60 games.” The 2020 edition of the tournament also saw the most games watched by an average viewer for any 60-game IPL season.

Over the years, IPL has become a prominent fixture in brands’ marketing calendar. The 2020 edition saw the digital communication partners help brands reinvent their marketing strategies more than ever with creative and unique communication to leverage the two-month-long sporting extravaganza. Digital-focused brands such as Dream 11, Unacademy, White Hat Jr, Upgrad, BigBasket and CRED had a strong presence this year. In fact, with Vivo stepping down as the IPL title sponsor amid the India-China border row, Dream 11 came on board as the title sponsor for IPL 2020. Other smaller brands such as APIS India, Mobile Premiere League, MediBuddy, BKT Tires also used the chance to make their mark.

With the 13th edition of IPL coinciding with the festive season in India, brand engagement was at its highest. Food delivery competitors Swiggy and Zomato came up with different strategies, with Swiggy’s #MatchDayMania catering to everyone, while Zomato’s ZomatoProLeague catered to its loyal “Pro” community. In fact, IPL 2020 heralded the restart of sports tournament and live sports broadcasting in India in a year marked by a complete cessation of sports activities due to COVID-19.

To get some perspective as to how brands were benefitted by being present in the 2020 edition of IPL, Adgully spoke to some of the brand leaders who’ve had significant presence in IPL.

Vivek Srivatsa, Head - Marketing, Passenger Vehicles Business Unit, Tata Motors, remarked, “This year, the Indian Premier League (IPL) has been one of the biggest ever sporting events, with a global audience watching the match from their homes. Since the audience was not physically present at the stadium due to the pandemic, the event had a prominent presence on TV. On the back of our association with IPL through the Tata Altroz, we at Tata Motors have seen some record-breaking viewership numbers right from the start of the tournament.”

Continuing further, Srivatsa said, “Our continued partnership with the IPL has shown our commitment towards our support for sports, and the aforementioned rise in viewership has additionally aided in good brand recall. As the Official Partner, the Altroz was showcased at all venues across the UAE, throughout the tournament. Apart from the car being on display, the Altroz branding was visible across the stadium on elements such as pitch mats, perimeter boards, boundary ropes, LED walls and along the presentation ceremony backdrops. Furthermore, mentions of the car and the brand by the commentators also led to significant brand visibility and recall across platforms.”

Sharing her highlights and views on IPL, Richa Sharma, Director - Brand Marketing, PhonePe, said “Our objective behind running the brand campaign during IPL was to reach a massive audience that has not yet gone digital for payments. The key focus is to remind the audience that PhonePe stands at the vanguard of safe, easy and instant digital payments and financial services to help each and every Indian progress – more relevant than ever in the face of this pandemic.”

“We are happy to share that the campaign has been well received by all consumer cohorts – users, non-users alike, with the ads garnering over 425 million views on YouTube and Facebook. While the campaign is still ongoing, there has already been a significant positive impact on brand recall and business metrics along with positive engagement and organic love being shown by audiences on digital platforms. We have already surpassed the campaign targets that we were tracking and have seen massive results,” she added.

“Our love for cricket has ensured that the IPL in its final stages has broken beyond the gender and age barriers and has everyone glued to their screens,” remarked Ashish Singhal, CEO and Co-Founder, CoinSwitch Kuber. “The number of viewers on Disney+ Hotstar who are watching IPL have grown multiple times compared to the league matches. We thought this is an opportune time to draw people’s attention to crypto currencies as an asset class and how investing smartly in them could lead to high returns. Ever since our ad campaign, ‘Smart Investing’, has gone live, we have been witnessing a massive surge in the number of new sign ups on the app, and the traffic on our blog, ‘Kuberverse’, has grown manifold.”

Fashion e-tailer Myntra, for whom festival is an important season, also leveraged the IPL tournament in a big way. Speaking about their IPL strategy, Achint Setia, VP - Marketing, Myntra, elaborated, “We are in constant pursuit to form deep connections and drive higher brand relevance with users across India, including Tier 2 cities and beyond. Leveraging IPL assets as a part of our marketing strategy has enabled us to cut across diverse markets and allowed us to have relevant conversations with our consumers. This has helped us deliver on our key big event like the ‘Big Fashion Festival’, which concluded recently, with a record number of customers shopping on Myntra. It also helped us with our brand conversations throughout the latter part of September and at the beginning of October. This year’s IPL has also witnessed the highest number of viewership across platforms over the previous editions. What was more interesting for us was the uptake in women viewership which is a bonus for a fashion and lifestyle brand like us. We will continue to explore synergies through existing and potential partnerships towards further enhancing our brand salience with our consumers.”

While stating that IPL was one of the most awaited events this year, Ved Prakash, VP - Growth and Marketing, Khatabook, said, "IPL has been one of the most awaited events this year. IPL campaign has been the right decision for the Brand Khatabook. While the campaign was still going on, we saw user acquisition with higher intent as the effect. Also, there has been an improvement in overall user acquisition and organic growth. During the campaign, we observed that the outcomes were preferable and decided to commit more efforts to the campaign to reap maximum benefits."


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