The Indian Premier League (IPL), India’s most popular sporting event, has a new title sponsor, replacing Chinese phone company Vivo. For this year and next, the Tata Group will be the IPL’s headline sponsor, paying the BCCI Rs 670 crore for the sponsorship rights.
The T20 cricket league is arguably the most appealing sports property for advertising and sponsors, with 400 billion total viewing minutes for IPL 2020 and 10 billion for the opening match of IPL 2021. It has also shown to be effective in enhancing sponsor brand recall.
During the tournament, IPL 2020 title sponsor Dream11 reached 100 million users, with a 44.4 percent increase in traffic during the tournament compared to 2019. Even industries unrelated to sports, such as menstrual hygiene startup Niine (primary sponsor of the Rajasthan Royals), saw their monthly sales rise from Rs 14 crore to Rs 20 crore after IPL 2020.
Lloyd Mathias, a business strategist and former marketer at HP Asia Pacific, Motorola, and PepsiCo, explains, “The decision to buy the title sponsorship of IPL is a great move by the Tatas. IPL is one of the largest events in India’s calendar and past two years’ experience has shown us how the tournament continues to attract huge television viewership despite the pandemic. For Tata Group, which has significantly increased its consumer play with recent acquisitions like Big Basket; Cure Fit, 1 MG and even Air India, this is an unparalleled opportunity to communicate and reach out to consumers across the country.”
The sponsorship announcement came just as Tata prepares to launch its “super app,” TataNeu. As Tata prepares to take on ecommerce powerhouses Amazon and Reliance, a tie-up with a high-profile broadcast property like the IPL would provide the corporation the much-needed push for the launch of its app. All of Tata’s consumer-facing companies will be consolidated under the app, including online groceries (BigBasket), online pharmacy (1Mg), ecommerce (TataCLiQ), consumer electronics (Croma), fashion retail (Westside), and more. Users would, presumably, be able to book hotel rooms in Tata-owned hotel chains like Taj and Vivanta, as well as Air India airline tickets using the app.
Sandeep Goyal, MD of Rediffusion, comments, “In keeping with the general aversion to the Chinese, the coming in of Tatas is a welcome step. With Tatas getting into ‘young-ifying’ the brand through so much more action in digital, the title sponsorship will do well for them.”