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New teams, New faces and a brand new avatar. How will IPL redefi ne the sports marketing paradigms this year?

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The 9th edition of the Indian Premier League is all set to get underway and it has all the ingredients to be yet another blockbuster. Things are very different this time around as we are not seeing two of the most successful franchises in the tournament’s history – Chennai Super Kings and Rajasthan Royals. The Indian Premier League is a professional Twenty20 cricket league in India contested annually by franchise teams representing Indian cities. The league, founded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 2007, is scheduled over April and May of every year. The title sponsor of IPL is Vivo Electronics, thus the league is offi cially known as the Vivo Indian Premier League. The IPL is the most-attended cricket league in the world and ranks sixth among all sports leagues. In 2010, the IPL became the fi rst sporting event in the world to be broadcast live on YouTube. The brand value of IPL was estimated to be US$3.2 billion in 2014. According to BCCI, the 2015 IPL season contributed 11.5 billion (US$182 million) to the GDP of the Indian economy. Of the 11 teams to have competed since the league’s fi rst season, fi ve have won the title at least once. Mumbai Indians, Chennai Super Kings and Kolkata Knight Riders have won twice, while Rajasthan Royals and Deccan Chargers have won once. Mumbai Indians are the current champions having won the 2015 season. Until 2014, the top three teams in the tournament qualifi ed for the Champions League Twenty20. However, the Champions League Twenty20 tournament was discontinued in 2015 and has been defunct since.

However, the world’s most popular T20 league is presently featuring 8 teams as two completely new franchises, namely Rising Pune Supergiants and Gujarat Lions, have replaced the suspended ones. Currently, with eight teams, each team plays each other twice in a home-and-away round-robin tournament. At the conclusion of the league stage, the top four teams qualify for the fi nals. The top two teams play each other in the fi rst preliminary round match, with the winner going straight to the fi nal while the loser goes on to the second preliminary round. The third and fourth place teams play each other to decide who will take on the loser from the fi rst preliminary round match. The winner of the second preliminary round match will move onto the02 fi nal where the winner will be crowned the Indian Premier League champions. If you are in India, you stand very little chance to not know about IPL, the most happening thing in India right now. It is highly debatable to understand whether it is entertainment, gambling or a mere sport. However, we would like to say IPL is all about Money, Cricket and Branding. IPL is similar to the Super Bowl in the US when weighed in terms of popularity and branding strategies. In its ninth season, IPL has come up with new branding strategies to create hype among the masses and retain its sheen. Here are two things marketers should perceive and implement from this sports fest.

Although you cannot take the cheer leaders concept in a literal way, you can anyways check out for ways that can lure your audience to buy your products and services

It has become very common for sponsors to come up with branding strategies that too with mediums like videos and audios to get the audience to shake it up. The IPL theme song has caught every-bodies attention. Even non-cricket lovers are enjoying listening to the song. It has been driving cricket lovers crazy and making them dance to the beat. Creating a brand is easy, but creating a brand image needs lot more effort. Video and audio are top media on the charts when it comes to viral marketing. So if you want to take your brand to the masses, you need to create a brand concept with which the masses can easily relate and apply in their daily lives. This does apply even to B2B companies. Be it B2B or B2C it is all about people to people. So, break the barricades of B2B and B2C and think about people to people marketing.

IPL Branding Strategy

Cheer leaders:The second thing any IPL lover/follower loves is ‘cheer leaders’ at IPL, fi rst being ‘cricketers’. It includes hot celebrities like Shahrukh Khan, Shilpa Shetty, Katrina Kaif, Priety Zinta, Nita Ambani, cheering and encouraging players along with typical cheer leaders, swinging, swaying and sizzling to the beats. There are quite a few socialists who oppose the concept of cheer leaders as they consider them to seduce the crowd. But as the saying goes, “Everything is fair in Love and War (and Marketing)”.So what is wrong in trying out surefi re marketing tactics!

ESPN_IPL_2016_Home_PageAlthough you cannot take the cheer leaders concept in a literal way, you can anyways check out for ways that can lure your audience to buy your products and services. Remember that every business has a niche audience and so does yours. To understand what attracts your audience, you need to conduct in-depth market and marketing research analysis. On understanding their behavior, you can choose on the best bait that could make them buy from you. The fun and excitement quotient at the on-going Vivo IPL 2016, has exponentially grown with a series of ‘SUPER’ experiences on offer, all aligned to its latest Vodafone SuperNet proposition. IPL, with high glam value and super excitement attached to it has changed the way we view Cricket. Though, it faces criticism from Cricket purists, its exponential growth year-on-year is subject of many a case studies. Packed stadiums, climbing TRPs, ad rates and revenues have brought its success story out of the domain of speculation. It was also one of the most searched brands on Google. As for the brands, a large number of them are associated with it in one form of the other. Of course, one cannot forget MAX here. High TRPs, premium ad rates and fl anking strategy by a few brands have made MAX a winner all the way.

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