Indian Premier League (IPL) post COVID
15 Apr 2021
How the mega cricket extravaganza never fails to surprise
When it comes to cricket, we Indians are born to celebrate. And since 2008, we’ve had an annual two-month-long reason to celebrate even harder. The Indian Premier League (IPL) pits celebrity-owned state teams against each other in a tournament that has fast become an all-round extravaganza of eating, drinking, shopping, and making merry. 2020 marked a paradigm shift for the IPL, as it was shifted to the UAE after initial talks about cancelling it on account of Covid-19. Many feared that the lack of physical experiences would dampen the fervour – however, India was as glued to the tournament as ever, and the hype for IPL 2021 is surging every day.
So what are the lessons marketers can pick up from this?
The Covid-19 pandemic brought all sporting and entertainment events to a halt, raising concerns about the future of the IPL’s popularity. However, IPL 2020 ended up clocking seven billion viewing minutes in the first 41 matches before the playoffs, an increase of 28% from the previous edition. The thrill of IPL, clearly, transcended the medium through which it was enjoyed. If you are confident about the value of the product or service you offer, you are likely to have an audience for it no matter the circumstances. All you need are the right marketing channels and the right content, which is where the best PR agency can help you out.
For many, cricket has always been a television sport. Now that everyone is watching from home, there are several ways to keep the hype going strong and IPL has done so. From subscription offers on streaming services to food offers on apps like Swiggy and Zomato for ‘match-day specials’, brands large and small are taking advantage of the festive mood that stimulates more impulse spending. As a marketer, think of ways in which you can connect with your customers on multiple fronts, such as a giveaway on Instagram, a play-and-win game offered via email, in-store discounts for the first 50 customers of the day and so on. This serves to constantly keep your brand top-of-mind amidst all the competition, thereby increasing the likelihood of a sale.
A major reason why marketers love the IPL is the sheer number of brands that get to jostle for space on the billboards, stadium walls, player jerseys and online channels. As a marketer, the lesson you can take is to consider tying up with another, complementary brand along with your own. For instance, if you sell handpainted crockery, you can tie up with a bakery or a tea brand. This way, you grab the attention of their followers as well as your own, which translates into more sales for both of you.
Few things bring Indians together as much as cricket. Like the Dubai Shopping Festival or the Great Singapore Sale, the IPL has become an annual landmark that people of all age groups and backgrounds eagerly await months in advance and continue to talk about well after it ends. As the best startup PR agency will tell you, garnering engagement like this calls for year-round online conversations – quizzes with small weekly prizes, for instance, or calls for user-generated content to share on the official brand page. Post-Covid, a popular form of social media engagement is asking followers to share memories of things they did before the lockdown or plans they have for when life gets back to normal. You can ask for content that specifically features your products, or simply assign a designated hashtag for use in the caption.