IPL is one of the most popular domestic sporting tournament and one of the most watched in India on TV. However, the BCCI is always looking to increase the fan following of teams. The popularity of the tournament to a large extent has been extended to the large cities from which these eight teams are based out of. The experience of the game is not carried to other II and III tier cities and towns all over the country. In order to do that BCCI has started fan parks all over the country in which matches are screened on giant screens in public areas.
The fan park initiative will be taken to 16 cities such as Agra, Nagpur, Udaipur, Indore, Coimbatore, Guntur, Warangal, Belgaum, Dehradun, Ludhiana, Surat, Kanpur, Allahabad, Bopal, etc. The screenings that began on April 11 is on weekends and targets two cities every weekend. These fan parks allow all fans to watch the matches for free and it is expected to have a capacity of 10,000 people with refreshments and music. This is so that they can give the viewers in these areas an opportunity to have the feel of watching the match in a stadium.
This activation of BCCI also gives brands an opportunity to reach such places and advertise there. For the first season of IPL fan parks BCCI has the support of brands such as Yes Bank, Vodafone, Pepsi and broadcaster Sony Max (MSM). The initiative is called Pepsi IPL Fan Park. This is possible investment sponsors have pumped in, like with title sponsor Pepsi’s Rs.800 million per year commitment to BCCI for IPL according to GroupM ESP report. In addition to this are the associate sponsors Vodafone and Yes Bank which had signed 5-year deals with BCCI for on-ground sponsorship for an estimated Rs.35 crore per season each according media reports. Further to this there is also the Rs.8,200 crore MSM 10-year deal with BCCI for the rights of IPL.
Rajeev Shukla, Chairman, IPL Governing Council said, “The towns that we have selected for this unique outdoor initiative are typically markets that are not catered to as frequently as we would like to. Moreover, not many people get an opportunity to watch the Pepsi IPL matches in a stadium. Since summers are here, the fan parks would provide the fans a chance to spend quality time with their families by letting them enjoy their favorite tournament.”
Commenting on this Neeraj Vyas, Senior EVP & Business Head, SONY MAX said, “Over the years Pepsi IPL has grown to the stature of a festival which people come together to celebrate. With a current fan base of 200 million we are looking at the fan parks to further boost viewership numbers and make this an annual property for us.”
Rajat Mehta, President & Country Head, Brand & Retail Marketing, Yes Bank in a previous interaction with exchange4media on IPL activations had said that they are doing 30-35% more in terms of activations and that their marketing budgets have also increased since last year. The brand is doing much more than what it did during last season.
In addition to the investments mentioned above there may also be more investment pumped by these brands for the IPL fan parks. These parks also act as a way for BCCI to bring to the table more deliverables for brands for the investment they have put into the tournament. Since this is the first year the few brands who are the title and associate sponsors participated in it. We might see a huge demand for this by brands if they see that the response is good. For BCCI it is also a great idea as if the demand grows it could possible see an additional source of revenues from brands.