'The single largest advantage sports offers is an opportunity to telecast live stream'
The panellists, Amit Gheji, Komal Mehra, Atit Mehta, and Shreya Sachdev, shared their views on 'Sports as a genre being the most effective platform for marketers today,' at the e4m TV First Conference
At the e4m TV First conference, held on April 27, 2021, a stellar panel convened to discuss sports as a TV genre for marketers. The panel comprising Amit Gheji, Head Marketing - Automotive Lubricants, Gulf Oil India; Komal Mehra, Head – Sports Initiatives and Associations, Usha International; Atit Mehta, Marketing Head, Byju's and Shreya Sachdev, Head of Marketing, PUMA India was moderated by Ruhail Amin, Senior Editor, exchange4media Group.
The discussion commenced with Mehta deliberating on sports as a genre being the most effective platform for marketers today. He highlighted, “The single largest factor according to me is the exclusivity terms of the opportunity available to telecast live stream.”
Resonating on a similar thought, Gheji added, “Affinity for a sports channel is higher than others. To target men, sports is the key, fewer spillovers of media monies too”. He also added that brands that promise performance, passion, and teamwork, sports become a natural fit for them.
Taking the discussion forward, the moderator probed about other sporting leagues that marketers rely on for impact, apart from Cricket. According to Sachdeva, football is the game that marketers would want to spend after cricket looking at the increasing viewership and popularity.
Mehta added a different perspective to the question. He said, ”We don’t have many icons/superstars in other games as compared to Cricket which makes it difficult for the marketers to vouch for or spend in other sports/sportsperson.”
“Providing platforms at the grassroots level is the key. Opportunities for athletes through platforms like sporting leagues/ events enhance sportsmanship. Initiatives must be made”, added Mehra.
Putting his thoughts on how can marketers derive the maximum value out of sports sponsorships, Mehta explained, “It mostly depends on the amount of investment made in sponsorships for engagement through the particular sports.”
“In International sports, the amount of excitement & engagement they create outside of the stadium is different. Unfortunately in India, we don't have that level of infrastructure", he added.
Sachdeva emphasized the shift in consumer behaviour. She said, “Consumers are no longer only spectators but also active participants these days. Our marketing strategies have to be around the aspirational part of the game also.”
Adding to her Sachdeva’s point, Mehra said, “The idea is about transformation. We encourage to provide a platform to the sports fanatics through associations in the form of contests and other activities. We like to sponsor associations where there is a desire to enjoy sports.”
Talking about the right kind of communication by the marketers, Gheji highlighted, “Creating content around the event and promoting it rightly is key. Low or high involvement of a category must be gauged for better ROI out of sports sponsorships”.
Moving towards the last part of the virtual panel discussion, the moderator tried to understand the behavioural shift of the end-user of sports in the last year and how are marketers adjusting to it. Sachdeva prompted, “The rate of consumer behaviour shift has been fast. We, as marketers have to be spontaneous enough to keep an eye on the consumers’ pulse. This will help in creating consumer trust and authenticity.”
"When you communicate with the sports fan, what you say and when you say is extremely important. Timing, especially in such times is crucial”, she added.
Gheji concluded the discussion by adding, “Listening is more important than talking to understand the consumer. Knowing when to and when not to advertise is key, be sensitive”.
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