Brands betting big on ICC Women’s T20 World Cup

Experts believe that due to its growing popularity, women's cricket today has a lot to offer in terms of brand association

e4m by Shreshtha Verma
Updated: Feb 20, 2020 9:21 AM
ICC Women's T20 World Cup

Cricket is not just a sport in India but an indispensable part of Indian culture. From the first Indian batsman Lala Amarnath Bharadwaj to the present-day maverick of Indian cricket Virat Kohli, Indians have always idolised their cricketing heroes. After Bollywood, cricket has been the only big thing having celebrity status. The game has also been a favourite for marketers too, who cash in on viewers’ love for cricket and its superstars. However, women's cricket has never been as popular as men's cricket in India. But with ICC Women’s T20 World Cup just days away, brands are now openly investing in women's cricket tournaments as well.

Experts believe that women's cricket today has a lot to offer in terms of brand association. The growing popularity of the game is the major reason for increasing brand interest.

Viewership numbers recorded by BARC for 2018 indicate that women form 48 per cent of cricket viewers with 342 million in viewership. Interestingly, the tickets for the 2020 edition of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup, which is supposed to take place in Australia between 21 February and 8 March, are already sold out.

With the tournament just days away, brands are all set to cash this golden opportunity.

From Coca-Cola’s #PowerHasNoGender campaign to Puma working with individual players from the national women’s cricket team for various campaigns, brands are betting big on the upcoming 2020 edition of ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. We take a look at the evolution of women’s cricket in India concerning the brand association.

Coca-Cola is one of the key brands that has a glorious history of partnership with prestigious sports events. Anoop Manohar, Director- Emerging Categories, Coca-Cola India believes that sports is an inclusive social experience that is for everyone and connects people across the countries.

The cola brand came up with a campaign- #PowerHasNoGender, launched before the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup is a reminder that the power to dream big, train hard to realize your dream and earn the spotlight, has no gender. The #PowerHasNoGender campaign celebrates young female cricket players putting in hours of practice, every single day at academies and grounds around the country.

The power-packed campaign will be supported with the on-ground presence of the sports drink where young women cricketers of all participating countries will be seen consuming Powerade during training and matches, told Manohar.

The other key brand that is perfectly leveraging the upcoming Women's World Cup is Puma. Unlike other brands, Puma is not running any campaign but extensively working with individual players from the national women's cricket team for different initiatives.

The gap is not limited only to the male and female cricket tournaments but also among the individual players and their brand value based on their gender. While male players like Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni have a brand value of Rs 300 crore and Rs 200 crores respectively, their female counterparts hardly get endorsements. However, over the last couple of years, things have started to change for the better. Leading female cricketers such as Mithali Raj, Harmanpreet Kaur and Smriti Mandhana have been seen endorsing some of the big brands like Puma, Vaseline, L'Oreal, Skechers, etc.

"Women's cricket if finally getting attention after all these decades," stated Harish Bijoor, Brand Guru & Founder, Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. However, he feels that it's a bit early in the evolution phase of Women's cricket in India to compare it with men's cricket.

"It will take another decade to get it on a scale if the comparison in terms of brand involvement and investment. As of now, brands are taking tentative baby steps into women's cricket," said Bijoor.

Jagdeep Kapoor, Founder Chairman and Managing Director, Samsika Marketing Consultants believes that movies like Chak De India have encouraged people to think about women's sports.

"Women's cricket is going to grow to be a big world event and the gap in viewership and earnings is going be reduced very fast, in the next few years. The future of sports marketing and advertising is very bright in India," he said.

Talking about the emergence of sports marketing in India, Kapoor said, "The addition of sports personalities as brand endorsers, in addition to Bollywood stars, has added the earning and glamour element to sports marketing. Sport is a part of life. Marketing is a part of life. Hence sports marketing will grow as part of life and earnings, very quickly".

Even the demand for female cricket academy is increasing by 8-10 per cent annually.  in the number of girls who join cricket academy.

Atul Srivastava, Founder and CEO Smartcricket.com, revealed that unlike before, women’s cricket has perfectly sustained itself over the last two to three years. According to Srivastava, while women’s cricket is behind men’s cricket in terms of glamour and commercial attention. It needs at least five years to stand shoulder to shoulder with men's cricket.

Having worked with leading male and female cricketers like Virat Kohli and Veda Krishnamurthy, Srivastava believes female cricketers have equal potential but are often beaten by Bollywood actresses in the race to win brand associations.

While talking about the huge gap between men’s and women’s cricket, Srivastava said that it is all because of the mindset of our society. Earlier cricket was seen as a game for men but today, things are changing for the better. As an owner of a cricket academy, Srivastava told that he has seen an 8-10 per cent increase in the number of girls who join cricket academy.

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