Perfect Match
Forbes India|April 9, 2021
As IPL gets bigger in scale and viewership, marketing tie-ups with the tournament are fetching greater visibility and returns for brands across sectors
KATHAKALI CHANDA & NAINI THAKER

There was a time menstrual hygiene startup Niine struggled to extract payment from stockists for nearly 40 days. The brand was nascent, barely visible and was expected to wither away in the face of competition from multinational behemoths like Procter & Gamble (P&G) and Johnson & Johnson (J&J). Not anymore. “Now, all our distributors know what Niine is, markets that didn’t give us shelf space earlier are calling us to place orders, and stockists are paying up within 15 days,” says Sharat Khemka, founder of Niine.

Khemka’s magic wand has been an association with the Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise Rajasthan Royals as its principal sponsor. In September 2020, the three-year-old company tied up with the then-Steve Smith-led team for a logo placement on the back of their jersey. Despite the team ending up at the bottom of the table, Khemka’s business has only gone north since. Following the two-month-long tournament, played in the United Arab Emirates last year due to the Covid-19 surge in India, Niine gained a 3 percent pan-India market share, and upwards of 9 percent in Rajasthan. In its first three years of operations, the company raked in ₹14 crore per month in sanitary napkin sales, while following two months of the IPL, the number shot up to ₹20 crore. “Our competitors like P&G and J&J have now started taking us seriously. There is no better property than IPL to improve a brand’s image,” adds Khemka.

Be it sponsorships (with teams as well as the league) or on-air tieups, an IPL association is moving the marketing needle for brands, bringing an uptick in brand awareness among consumers. With 400 billion viewing minutes during its last edition—the largest viewership for an Indian sports tournament—at a time the country was under house arrest due to the pandemic, it has brought about a visibility windfall for its advertising partners.

2020 title sponsors Dream11, the fantasy league platform that bagged the rights for ₹222 crore after Vivo stepped away for a year, crossed 100 million in registered users during the tournament. The company that conceptualised six ad films starring MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Rishabh Pant, Hardik Pandya, Shikhar Dhawan and Jasprit Bumrah championing gully cricket, and nine 10-second films goading fans to pick their fantasy teams, experienced a 44.4 percent surge in traffic during the final match as against the 2019 one.

“As online fantasy sports is entirely based on live sporting events, it was a good opportunity for us to be visible at different fan touchpoints. Pitch report, toss, giving the ‘Dream11 GameChanger of the Match’ to the cricketer with the most fantasy sports points and so on were some richly organic moments where fans connected and interacted with our brand,” says Vikrant Mudaliar, chief marketing officer, Dream Sports & Dream11. Mudaliar added that they served more than 80 million requests per minute during the tournament.

Mobile esports platform MPL not only advertised during the IPL but also sponsored a couple of teams (Kolkata Knight Riders or KKR and Royal Challengers Bangalore or RCB) and signed on RCB captain Virat Kohli as its brand ambassador.

“Approximately 30 to 40 percent of our marketing budget was allocated for the IPL. In terms of advertising, we had four to five slots during every match throughout the season,” says Abhishek Madhavan, SVP, growth and marketing, MPL. The returns? MPL’s user base grew 10x through the entire year, and between 1.5 and 2 times during the tournament. “We started the year around 40 million users and ended around 70 million, most of the traction came during the IPL,” says Madhavan, who is looking to double his IPL ad spends this year. “If I had ₹500 crore to spend in a year, I’d rather spend it on the 50 days of IPL rather than throughout the year because the amount of viewership it’s able to generate is huge for anyone looking to build a brand.”

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM FORBES INDIAView All

‘The Middle Class Buys Dreams. The Businessman Sells Unrealistic Ones'

Anand Kumar starts the interview by setting the context. “Let’s get the math right,” says the mathematician.

4 mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

The Home School of Thought

Concerns over a monotonous, formal education system coupled with edtech’s innovative approaches bolster the homeschooling proposition. But is India ready for it?

10+ mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

The Big Small Question

As Byju’s and Unacademy grow at breakneck speed, what will it take for smaller edtech players to survive?

10+ mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

Beating Bharat's Edtech Blues

On the other side of the billion-dollar edtech boom are children who have been unable to access the most basic forms of online education, and people who have been trying to bridge the digital divide

10+ mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

Handa's New Funda: From Academy to Unacademy

How IITian Ravi Handa scaled up his seven-year-old online venture for MBA preparation, and eventually sold it to an edtech major

5 mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

Six (and more) Degrees of Fakery

How inaction against the rash of fake universities across the country may be incentivising the mushrooming of more such institutions

6 mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

Meet The Headmasters

Sequoia Capital has bet big on edtech, with over a dozen investments, including in industry giants Byju’s and Unacademy

10+ mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

A Billion-Dollar Dream For Freshworks

Girish Mathrubootham is taking a cue from the rapid growth of Silicon Valley software startups to reach scale and velocity

10+ mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

Changing How Small-Town India Shops

CityMall founders Angad Kikla and Naisheel Verdhan are building a network of micro-entrepreneurs through their app in smaller cities

10 mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021

Liberal Arts: A Road Less Travelled

Colleges offering these courses in India have begun to gain ground, but for them to truly shine on the global map, they must be cognisant of the country’s culture and challenges

7 mins read
Forbes India
April 23, 2021
RELATED STORIES

Not Your Father's Banker

Owl Rock Capital co-founder MARC LIPSCHULTZ says direct loan funds fill a gap in the market and take risk out of the financial system. Now the 4-year-old business is being tested

10+ mins read
Bloomberg Markets
April - May 2020

6 Indian Players Who Shouldn't Participate In IPL

Rohit's role as Mumbai Indians captain and regular opener of India's limited overs squad has taken a toll...

3 mins read
Cricket Today
October 19, 2018

Familiar Tale Of Woe For Hyderabad

SRH Sink To 3rd Consecutive Loss After Failing To Chase 151 Vs MI

3 mins read
The Times of India Delhi
April 18, 2021

Swinging Success

Chahar’s Burst, Jadeja’s Fielding Brilliance Help CSK Down Punjab In MSD’s 200th Game For Chennai

3 mins read
The Times of India Mumbai
April 17, 2021

Chahar Does Maximum Damage

Seamer’s Early Strikes Ensure Easy Victory For MS Dhoni’s CSK

3 mins read
The Times of India Hyderabad
April 17, 2021

रॉयल्स ने दिल्ली को तीन विकेट से हराकर पहली जीत दर्ज की

आईपीएल के सबसे महंगे खिलाड़ी मॉरिस ने 4 छक्के लगाकर मैच पलटा

1 min read
Haribhoomi Delhi
April 16, 2021

आचार संहिता के उल्लंघन के लिए विराट कोहली को फटकार

रॉयल चैलेंजर्स बेंगलूरु (आरसीबी) के कप्तान विराट कोहली को यहां बुधवार को एमए चिदंबरम स्टेडियम में सनराइजर्स हैदराबाद के खिलाफ मैच के दौरान आईपीएल की आचार संहिता के उल्लंघन के लिए मैच रेफरी वेंगलिल नारायण कुट्टी ने फटकार लगाई है।

1 min read
Dakshin Bharat Rashtramat Chennai
April 16, 2021

बेंगलुरु ने हैदराबाद से जीती हारी हुई बाजी

शाहबाज अहमद (सात रन पर तीन विकेट) की शानदार गेंदबाजी की बदौलत रॉयल चैलेंजर्स बेंगलूरु ने सनराइजर्स हैदराबाद को आईपीएल 14 के मुकाबले में बुधवार को छह रन से हराकर अपनी लगातार दूसरी जीत दर्ज की।

1 min read
Dakshin Bharat Rashtramat Chennai
April 15, 2021

शाहबाज के एक ओवर ने पलटी तस्वीर, आरसीबी 6 रन से जीती

आईपीएल : हैदराबाद ने आखिरी चार ओवर में 28 रन पर 7 विकेट गंवाए

1 min read
Haribhoomi Delhi
April 15, 2021

7 MOST DESTRUCTIVE BATSMEN IN IPL HISTORY

When it comes to monstrous hitting, Andre Russell is an IPL legend. He can tonk the ball a long way, and so frequently that bowlers are...

5 mins read
Cricket Today
April 02, 2021