The highly anticipated ICC Cricket World Cup has returned to India after 12 years, igniting a wave of excitement among cricket fans across the country. Brands, too, are gearing up with their strategies to capitalize on this golden opportunity during the more than 40-day event.
Traditionally, major tournaments like the Cricket World Cup have been dominated by national brands with deep pockets. However, this time, regional brands are stepping up their game and showing significant interest in cricket's grand stage. What's driving this shift? Experts point to factors such as the recent success of the Indian Premier League (IPL), the World Cup coinciding with the festive season, and the availability of cost-effective digital advertising options
"While regional brands may not be team sponsors, they are strategically investing in OTT, TV, and digital advertising during matches and highlights, harnessing the power of moment marketing trends," notes Amit Dhawan, Partner & CEO of Art-E.
This dynamic shift highlights the adaptability of regional brands in seizing diverse advertising opportunities within the sports industry. Dhawan goes on to explain, "The World Cup's location in India this year has further fueled brand participation. The shorter duration of the tournament may lead to higher ad spends by these brands, aiming to capture the cricket-crazy Indian audience. The IPL consistently witnesses enthusiasm from regional brands due to its format and the opportunity to align with regional teams."
Aparna Tadikonda, EVP – South at Interactive Avenues, suggests that regional players are carefully assessing the costs and competitive landscape associated with investing in the World Cup.
"Much like national brands, regional brands are evaluating this unique opportunity, weighing the pros and cons. Their approach will depend on audience availability, investments, and the expected return on investment. From a platform perspective, both the Cricket World Cup and other major events offer advertising opportunities for brands. For instance, Disney+ Hotstar is expected to reach a base of 450 million users with approximately 50 million concurrent viewers during the World Cup."
According to market research company Elara Capital, the Cricket World Cup is expected to generate Rs 20-22 billion in ad revenue on TV and digital platforms combined. While many regional brands have eagerly embraced this opportunity, experts acknowledge that some remain hesitant.
Sarfaraz Ansari, Senior Vice President – Integrated Media at DDB MudraMax, highlights three primary reasons why regional brands have not been a dominant force at major cricketing events:
Though, many times brands don’t have access to amazing advertising agencies like Excellent Publicity, which gets them the best advertising options available in their budget.
Viren Razdan, Managing Director of Brand-nomics, also points out the challenges faced by regional players due to high costs.
"ICC has stringent guidelines for the use of the World Cup mark by exclusive sponsor partners, often limiting opportunities for competing brands. However, the tournament still offers a substantial viewership, and local brands utilize it at the regional level for sales promotions and other associations. The costs may be prohibitive for regional players, but they make sense if the regional brand has a ready-to-roll-out national target."
In summary, the Cricket World Cup presents an exciting marketing opportunity for regional brands in India. While challenges such as language preferences and high costs persist, regional players are increasingly recognizing the potential of strategic advertising during cricket's biggest event. As the tournament unfolds, it remains to be seen how regional brands will leverage this unique platform to connect with the cricket-loving Indian audience.