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‘Sports unites audiences through their universal passion’

By Bhawana Anand - May 26, 2018

Sports category has definitely become ubiquitous category for international and national brands to create the brand imagery and targets their TG through associating with their emotions and passion for the game. This rapidly grown big ticket category provides a number of avenues for brands to be omnipresent in which stadium is one such location for advertising that targets both the real and virtual audiences. Interestingly, the improving infrastructure and invasion of interactive & digital technologies are making it a lot easier and productive to get the favourable results for the brands. Bhairav Shanth, Co-Founder, ITW Consulting Pvt. Ltd talks about the growth chart of stadium branding.

How in stadia branding is picking up in India?

Immersive and catchy experiential marketing brings physical and digital components of branding together. But, despite its appeal and effectiveness, it can be pricy and tough to put into action.

In today’s world, where we’re always plugged in, constantly moving from platform to platform and accessing content on demand, sports retains the power to cohere marketing messages on a global level, uniting audiences through their universal passion. It is being increasing rapidly over the years given the unique mix of technology and innovation to the brands. ITW Group has alone worked with 150+ brands in the past 1 year and the significant increase in the numbers of what the company did a year before explains the exposure.

Given the huge landscape, the sports sponsorship market has grown to Rs 7,300 crore in 2017 as compared to Rs 6,400 crore in 2016. Ground sponsorship was Rs 1,137 crore in 2017 as compared to INR 1,165 in 2016 wherein team sponsorship and franchise was Rs 819 crore and Rs 684 crore, respectively.

Sports sponsorship wields transformative power that can drive exponential growth and the couple of recent examples show exactly what is possible.

Additionally, Vivo’s title sponsorship for Indian Premier League (IPL) worth Rs 2,199 crore bid is a mammoth 554% more than the previous contract. A four-year deal of Paytm as India Team sponsor worth Rs 203.28 crore (Rs 2.42 crore per match) is higher than the minimum bid price of Rs 2 crore per match. Interestingly, OPPO has locked five-year jersey sponsors deal by paying Rs 1,079 crore wherein the brand will be paying Rs 4.61 crore per bilateral series match and Rs 1.56 crore for an ICC event match. Whereas, Emirates locked in a seven-year $100 million deal with ICC.

Please share the key benefits of in stadia branding offered to brands? 

Live sports lead to high exposure to the brands and connect them emotionally with the audience. Brand-building is a full-time pursuit of marketers, and major sports teams can create or enhance brand awareness. Whenever a game is played, it’s almost unavoidable for cameras to pick up shots of the stadium and for sportscasters to at least mention the facility in passing. Additional mentions can occur when any team news breaks. This intense media attention might be of particular value to companies trying to get in the public consciousness.

Moreover, the brand activations during the matches or leagues help them reach their target audience directly. With the implementation of digital signage in the stadium there is an additional opportunity for brands to get eyeballs 10 times more and 4 times higher in terms of revenue during the key moments of the game. Considering the fact that over 25% of fans drop out during ad breaks and switch channels or dash to grab a drink, in stadia branding lets the brand engage with fans during live games, thereby providing a constant engagement opportunity to the brands.

What sort of formats are available inside the stadium

A major driver of change is how consumers, particularly younger viewers, watch sport today. Digital and static signage, concourse branding, in stadia activations, static pitch mats and AR pitch mats are couple of examples how the people increasingly consume the platform in new ways. ITW Consulting pioneers in converting static signage into digital signage that gets more eyeballs and increase the rate of brand retention with animated graphics. In recent times ITW Consulting has converted static pitch mats to augmented reality mats for on air viewership.

What would be the eye ball number generated by in stadia branding? What the method of measuring the same?

It is very subjective, and the number of impressions or eye ball caught vary according to the format of the game. Having said that, the average numbers for 2017-18 T20I had 30 million impressions per match. ODI could generate 18 million impressions per match and the Test matches generated 5-6 million impressions per match.

At Global Sports Commerce (GSC), group holding company for ITW Consulting Pvt. Ltd, we have an in-house automated software called Maplytiks. It calculates the brand exposures based on the Brand Advertising Equivalence that showcases the net monetary value of the brand’s sponsorship exposure on broadcast by combining the equivalent advertising cost on that broadcast channel with the quality of the brand exposure.

Additionally, the TAM or Repucomm measurement techniques calculates brand exposures based on brand prominence values that is derived from four factors viz clutter (contribution of each brand exposed on the sum of brand exposures), size, position and the angle of the exposure.

Could you please compare the Indian infrastructure with international stadiums and share what kinds of opportunities can we expect in future?

Stadiums in India are getting a lot more attention as the infrastructure for sports gets evolved. Sports infrastructure is an important and integral part of the sports ecosystem of any country. India as a young sporting nation plays a mix of sports. Gujarat’s Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Stadium will become the largest cricket stadium in the world after renovation. The recently concluded U-17 FIFA World cup saw many new FIFA approved turfs which has certainly increased the standard of the facility in India. F1 Circuit Buddh International Circuit and CWG has added a lot of international facility, optimistic that the facility will constantly increase in India (though it may be slow).

Talking about 2018, what sort of sports are lined up in this year in terms of revenue?

Sport is a big business and getting bigger. Like most other industries, the sports industry is being disrupted by technology advancements and cultural changes. The sports calendar begins with IPL (Cricket) conducting 60 matches in April and May followed by Super Cup (Football). June will see an India-Afghanistan 5-day match. August will be buzzing with Karnataka Premier League (Cricket). Hyderabad Open 2018 (Badminton), Asia Cup (cricket) are lined up in September. The month may see Premier Futsal too. October will begin with West Indies tour of India 2018 (3 Test, 5 ODIs, 1 T20I) (Cricket) and Pro Kabaddi League whereas Hockey Men's World Cup 2018, Indian Super League (football), Syed Modi International Badminton Championships are lined up for the month of November.

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