Only placing logos on IPL jerseys may not do well for brands: National Director, Wavemaker India

Jigar Rambhia shares his views on the indisputable popularity of IPL among sponsors and cricket aficionados

e4m by Pallavi Borkar
Updated: Apr 23, 2018 8:57 AM

Vivo IPL 2018 is making rating history, registering 371 million viewers across television and digital platform Hotstar in its opening week. Star India is offering cricket fans a multilingual viewing experience by streaming the matches in six Indian languages across 10 TV channels.

Over the years, advertisers have realised the power of Indian Premier League (IPL) as a marketing platform. On-the-ground sponsorships have further ramped up their association with the league. And to top it all, cricket fans are now demanding a more engaging and immersive experience.

Jigar Rambhia, National Director–Sports and Entertainment Sponsorships, Wavemaker India, has been associated with IPL since its inception. He has been instrumental in creating many important sports partnerships for brands such as PayTM, Janalakshmi Financial Services, Bajaj Allianz and Vodafone. A sport fanatic, Rambhia believes in providing effective marketing solutions to brands through his passion and knowledge of the domain. In a quick chat with exchange4media, he shares his views on the growing indisputable popularity of IPL among the sponsors and cricket aficionados.

As a media planner, what are your expectations from this IPL season?

I have always believed that IPL is one property that has delivered year on year. You would not find a single property that has delivered as consistently as IPL. The IPL ratings for each passing year are proof enough for its success. I think from an advertiser’s point of view, IPL is one of the best performing properties on television today. Also, over the years, we have seen many cricketers earning their name through IPL and eventually going on to play in the national team. IPL is a business proposition that is a win-win for everyone.

The IPL ratings are out. As a sports marketing expert, how do you view it? Do you think it will pick up more in the coming weeks?

From a sports marketing point of view, no league delivers as much as IPL. The ratings have increased year on year, and so is the case with this year. From a league perspective, it’s a very good sign. It is a consistent property. It does have its ups and downs, which is true for any property. But on an overall level, it will maintain a considerable rating.

What does the data reflect in terms of growth this season as compared to previous years?

There has been growth every year and the rating has maintained itself. Compared to last year, the inaugural match this year has seen a more positive response. Similarly, other matches also saw a more positive response than previous matches. As per the trend, the third or the fourth week of IPL experiences a slight dip. But that is true for any property. A good thing that has happened this year is that individual markets from most of the metro cities have shown an increase in the ratings. The metro cities are doing very well.

During IPL, everybody wants to attract eyeballs. With the jerseys and the cricket gear being covered with logos of sponsors, has IPL become cluttered? How do sponsors work on the valuation?

Surprisingly, from the first year to the 11th year, there has been no change in the number of sponsors for team jerseys. I think the reason why one may find the jerseys cluttered is that brands now have more colourful logos. Also, some teams have an inclination towards gold bling for their jerseys.

India is obsessed with Bollywood and cricket, and IPL is one of the various means that brands use to associate with their consumers.

While it may look cluttered, it all depends on how the brand uses this association. A few years ago, a financial services brand was the lead sponsor for a team. The brand, which is generally dormant at the time of April-May, recorded its best performance after the financial closing that year. This story has worked as a great source of motivation for consumers and the sales team.

We always guide our clients that just placing a logo on the jersey may not really do well for their brand. It all depends on how smartly they use the association.

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