Guest Column: Pro Kabaddi League will give sustained ROI to brands: Mandeep Malhotra

The minute that 'Urban Youth' gets hooked to Kabaddi, the nation will follow. Brands will recover their investments' worth within a few years. 22 million viewers for Pro Kabaddi League is an encouraging number, says Mandeep Malhotra, President DDB Mudra Group

e4m by Mandeep Malhotra
Published: Aug 5, 2014 10:09 AM  | 4 min read
Guest Column: Pro Kabaddi League will give sustained ROI to brands: Mandeep Malhotra

I am in love again; this time, with the business of Sports Marketing.

India is gradually going to grow into smaller communities of passion; passion for sport being at the helm of conversation generation. I was amazed at the brand followership for the current Pro Kabaddi League. The minute ‘Urban Youth’ gets hooked to Kabaddi, the nation will follow. The reason I say ‘Urban Youth’ is purely evident of trendsetting capabilities. There are efforts being made on various sports like soccer / badminton / hockey and others. It is tough competition to a cricket frenzied country.  Brands, to derive reach and affinity would invest in cricket but now there are affordable opportunities available to derive a similar objective.

Pro Kabaddi League has teams where not only celebrities but also corporates like Kotak, YES Bank, Future Group, etc., have invested in. I can assure all brands that they will recover their investments’ worth within a few years. I have been getting calls from various brands wanting to join as sponsors. The number of 22 million viewers is even encouraging for a content starved nation like ours.

With encouragement given to sports and participation, we will see more victories at international forums, which in return will bring joy and pride to the entire nation. Brands endorsing them obviously will have sustained ROI delivered.

Corporate India wanting to get the share of communities is considering sports as a great sustenance model.

It’s very difficult to be 16 every now and then, especially when you are nowhere close to that age. The effort is to at least feel 16. And we all have but advertising and communication business gives you these opportunities every now and then. Unlike my peer group, I want to be 16 every now and then. What I mean by that is - I want to lead by revisiting basics and dirtying my hands on new projects from the ground, not from the top. I love my work which gives me the opportunity to relive the dream of ideas generated by the team. Whether it is Toon awards, OBD, Mahabharata or Pro Kabaddi League, all these projects make me feel like the first-time lover feels for her girlfriend. The need and the hidden desire is to woo her artistically, but always remember you don’t have money to splurge on her. 

So let’s talk on my current love: Pro Kabaddi League and Bengal Warriors.

We are managing the Bengal Warriors and wow what a beauty this team is!

With people from across the country, two Koreans and an Iranian player & others across the country, language has been least of the challenges as of now. Getting to meet the players making them a team from individuals and transinjecting the winning  spirit has been a great experience.

The job of being a designer / stylist / physio / mentor / subservient / strategist / logistic manager / security personnel / ground / hospitality / medical practitioner / family / friend / advisor, etc. are few of the roles played. But the most interesting part is contributing to reviving a dying sport in our country. The same feeling may be as reviving a patient from a coma. Every day we would wind up at around 1 am and look forward to the cab guy taking rest and coming back by 9 to rush to the ground. Few minutes of learnings from previous day would be revisited and plans to be made for how to make the day more interesting. More encouraging and more satisfying. The shared energy which suddenly comes back with a sport like this at around 5 pm for a match going live at 7:45 pm is divine.

Sports is becoming a serious business. With the amount of crores being pumped in, the entire corporate world is watching it. Every penny is being measured and reconsidered. Debates and discussions on which side of the attire branding is visible more, therefore seeking top dollars on the same are taking place. Interesting opportunity is to brand a team which has better raiders, as the broadcast will air it closely plus avoids the clutter of 7 Vs 1. Maybe these technical details will be easier to understand when you watch the sport closely.  I assure you that you will fall in love with the game. Like a 16 year old.

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