Deciphering the growing clout of Live Sports in the marketing mix

At e4m Prime Time Awards Conclave and ‘TV First Event, Atit Mehta, Head of Marketing- Byjus and Sai Narayan, Chief Marketing Officer- Paisabazaar deliberated on how brands benefit from live sports

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Feb 7, 2020 5:55 PM
e4m tv first

Live sports is redefining marketing dynamics. Ever since the rise of private sporting leagues in India, now there are more brands visible on the playground than players itself. And this is a fact across sporting genres like cricket, kabaddi, badminton, football and more.

 So what makes live sports such an interesting bet for marketers? At the recent e4m Prime Time Awards Conclave and ‘TV First Event, a panel discussion on ‘Live Sports and How Brands Benefit From It’ was held which had two eminent ‘Live Sports Sponsors —Atit Mehta, Head of Marketing Byjus and Sai Narayan, Chief Marketing Officer, Paisabazaar (Policybazaar Group) , who spoke about the rise of Live Sports in the marketing and media consideration and how the two brands were leveraging the immense impact that Live Sports offers.

 Some of the interesting insights that the panellists discussed threw light on how the shorter ad pods/ ad duration during Live Sports allows for higher attention. If one compares ad breaks on IPL as a Live Sports example versus non-IPL content, the ad duration differs immensely. On IPL the ad duration is less than ~ 1 minute in which not more than 2 to 3 brands get exposure. If the ad duration on non-IPL content is considered, the duration could be ~ 5 minutes which accommodate 15 to 16 ads depending on edit time.

Speaking at the Panel, Atit Mehta underlined how Byju’s has been dominantly built as a formidable, pan-India brand, with investments on sports primarily on broadcast and a focus on Cricket being one of the main Live Sporting events. “The reach of  Live Sporting platforms, especially cricket is immense. If you look at content across other genres—drama, music, non-fiction etc, Live Sports has much more stickiness in terms of content, audience loyalty, audience attention span and active interest, this offers brands the right platform to do effective messaging. At Byju’s we are aware of this fact and it has helped us scale up in a short time.”

 Explaining the importance of consistent investments in sports and Live Sporting leagues as a part of their marketing mix, Sai Narayan of Paisabazaar cited examples of how a category like insurance has moved beyond the notion of ‘tax savings’. Consumers usually consider Insurance for tax saving than an investment-related instrument. However, post investments on broadcast on a league such as the IPL, they were able to build a category for Insurance as a product and therefore, some significant behavioural shifts could be noticed. Needless to say that this shift was also possible through their consistent and impactful messaging during the league.

 An important message that Sai left us with was“ Till there is live sports, TV as a medium won’t die and Policybazaar would not have the recall it does, if not for cricket”. Also, the canvas to play within Live Sports is far bigger than traditional mediums, there are so many elements you can play with. A typical sporting event is long enough for brands to build a lasting recall value. If there were no live sports we might not have reached 40 million monthly users on Paisabazaar and 30 million monthly users on Policybazaar”, stated Narayan. While he mentioned that PolicyBazaar would continue to focus on Live Sporting leagues and events as it is definitely here to stay given the impact it creates, he was also very excited about the Women's World Cup.

 When asked about the art and science of Sports Marketing and whether there was a set formula for doing it right, Mehta said, “Building a brand on sports requires courage and patience, you have to keep investing for a longer time and it will definitely pay you back. Cricket advertising has given us the recognition and recall pan India and has reduced sales conversion time for parents to sign up on their app, which directly impacts our sales numbers.” He also mentioned that today it’s not just the Live Matches but also content like the Pre and Post Match shows which provides incremental opportunities for marketers. Regional feeds, relevant regional commentary has upped the experience not just for viewers but also helped increase measurability of campaigns from a marketers perspective.

 The panel concluded by sharing that there will always be a fear of a series result, but for a brand to be noticed and create the right noise value it’s important to take high risks that do come with high returns. With the increase in sporting leagues in our country, the panel felt that too much of sports and exposure of brands on sporting platforms is never overexposure. Marketers need to ensure they are patient, have courage and perseverance to see the fruits of their hard work which are built over time.

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