Sports Advertising: The Game Changer For Brands
It isn’t a secret that brands are quick enough to jump into the sports advertising bandwagon, which is due to the platforms power to spread message on a huge scale. This is something that’s becoming difficult due to changing consumer habits and new technologies.
Our article will talk about the marketing and psychological factors of sports advertising and sponsorship, but before that let’s share a fun fact.
Advertising during sports dates back to ancient Rome where wealthy and influential citizens sponsored gladiator combats. The ads of these fights were advertised on walls and there used to be distribution of pamphlets.
With the gaining popularity of cricket in the field of sports, brands too left no stones unturned to engage with cricketers for endorsements.
Here’s an advertisement of St. Peter cricket bats dated back to the year 1978. From subtle and straightforward print ads to brands going expeditious over creative video ads, we’ve come a long way.
The Whole New Ballgame
Moving on to the current scenario, in a country like ours where cricket is a religion, IPL has turned out to be the biggest festival for cricket fans. Not just that, the Indian Premier League has also become synonymous to entertainment.
But this cannot be the only reason for brands evangelists to aggressively vouch to get their space in the marketing battleground. As a die-hard sports fan has myriad reasons to support their favourite team, advertisers too have innumerable reasons to go for sports marketing. Let’s look at some of the benefits;
- Highly engaged audience: No channel switching during ad breaks!
Though streaming on the same devices as series, movies, or other content, live sports are far more engaging. Sports matches are not only a source of entertainment but major events that attract a lot of news and discussions.
It’s like an edge-of-the-seat thriller where each and every action can lead to a different outcome. Hence, it commands the highest level of attention by the viewers who don’t even change channels or swap the screens during commercial breaks which are much shorter too.
- Strong emotional connect: Games end but memories stay!
Sports is not only a source of entertainment but a demonstration of action, skill, group dynamics, leadership, entertainment as well as pride (team/state/national level).
The motive to watch live sports might vary for the sports audience from national pride to following a particular sports player, but the emotions are strong and everything that happens during a match leaves a deep and long-lasting impact on the audience mind including which brands were associated with the match.
- Positive association with brands: Remember that ad we watched during IPL 2020?
Sports is often associated with several positive emotions- patriotism, a bias for action, brotherhood, transparency, fair play, etc. When a brand associates itself with sports, in the audience’s minds, similar associations are formed with the brands too.
Indian Premier League: The Baap of Manoranjan
In the past two year the pandemic had spelled doom on all activities including business, travel, and even sports. While all high-scale events were getting canceled and the ad figures dipped massively, IPL 2021 witnessed an unparalleled fervor.
It created a buzz amongst cricket fans as well as advertisers and brands. Don’t believe us? Checkout the facts below:
- IPL 2021 was the most searched topic of the year 2021 which means there were more people searching for IPL than Coronavirus which was the most searched topic globally.
- IPL 2021 broke all records, not only in terms of viewership but also in terms of advertising:
- Star Sports had 18 sponsors and over 100 advertisers, the highest in IPL History
- Disney+ Hotstar witnessed over 300 advertisers, again the highest in IPL History
Source: Brand Equity
But, it’s not the magic of 2021 only, with every passing year IPL has made records to break them the very next year. Have a look at the increasing popularity of IPL among people:
We all know Cricket is synonymous with religion in this country. This love for cricket transcended the national boundaries in 2008 when the Indian Premier League was launched. On similar lines to the English Premier League, the Indian Premier League was conceptualized to bring sports and entertainment together.
Currently, IPL has 10 teams who are named after 6 metros and 4 states of India- Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Punjab, Rajasthan, Ahmedabad and Lucknow.
These teams are owned by corporates and celebrities. Every year there is an auction where team owners bid for their players from a list of selected players from Indian as well as overseas cricket teams.
Every year, IPL takes place in the months of March, April and May. Earlier, the matches took place in all the 8 home states of the teams in 20-20 format. Last year, IPL was conducted in two phases due to the pandemic, the first phase of IPL 2021 took place during April- May and later during Sept-Oct. This year, IPL is starting from Apr 26, 2022 and ending on May 29, 2022 and the matches will be held in India.
Apart from being a sporting event, IPL is also packed with entertainment and marketing events. From quirky ads to catchy jingles, contests, celebrity’s performance, fantasy sports league, on-ground activation, there has been no-stone unturned when it comes to promoting the mega event called IPL.
Here’s what marketers have to say about IPL 2021 and its impact:
IPL Live Streaming On Hotstar: Shrinking An Entire Stadium Into a Mobile Screen
In 2017, Star India bagged the television and digital broadcasting rights for the Indian Premier League. This means that Star India channels in the case of TV and Hotstar in terms of digital have the official rights to broadcast and stream live IPL matches.
Hotstar is the digital arm of Star India. It is one of the largest video OTT platforms in India. In April 2020, Hotstar was merged with Disney to be rechristened as Disney+Hotstar.
While television broadcasting and digital streaming are meant to watch the live matches only, Hotstar went beyond to ensure that the experience of viewing IPL matches live is not unidirectional but also engaging the audience and providing them a platform to connect with friends and family while enjoying the game. Here are a few features that sets Hotstar apart from its contemporaries when it comes to sports live streaming:
Social Media Feed:
- Watch n Play: Apart from live streaming, Hotstar also introduced Watch n Play where the audience can play guessing games, win prizes, watch key info about matches and also share messages, emojis etc with others. (as shown in the video below)
- Hotshots & Duets: In IPL 2020, Hotstar introduced two new features to its Social Media Module- “Hotshot” and “Duet”. Using Hotshots, users can share their selfies with reactions to the live streaming of matches on the chat. While duet involves user-generated videos that are a re-creation of famous videos and reactions during the game. (Images attached below)
- Watch Parties: Watch Party is a way for people to watch videos on the platform together in real-time. It’s a new feature that has been added this year. (Refer to the image below)
- Exclusive Cricket Content: Apart from this, just like Television telecasts, pre-match and post-match analysis by Cricket experts also forms a part of the experience.
- Regional Language Feed: Apart from English and Hindi, IPL matches have commentaries in regional languages Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, and Bengali.
Advertising on Hotstar: Understanding The Audience
- Reach: IPL 2021 witnessed a reach of 300 million. In IPL 2021, the reach will be over 350 million.
- Young, Urban, Male: Disney + Hotstar has the largest sports viewing premium audience and covers ~80% of Male, Age 15+ years, NCCS AB Urban population of India that watches IPL Live.
- Affluent Audience with High Propensity to make online transactions: Advertising on IPL on Hotstar is one of the fewest ways to target the SVOD audience who are affluent and are definitely acquainted with one of the online payment methods. Here’s a snapshot of Hotstar + Disney’s penetration among various categories:
- Education: 40% of Hotstar users are Graduates/Diploma Holders.
- Income: Average monthly household income is ~ INR 18,000.
- Ownership: More than 70% penetration in premium durables.
- Finance: 63% penetration in credit card users.
- Entertainment: 90% penetration in paid OTT apps audience.
- Online Shopping: 66% penetration among monthly online shoppers.
- Travel & Holiday: 66% of annual travelers.
- Engaged Audience: During IPL’ 21 audience spent 33% higher watch time on CTV vs IPL 2020. The match highlights reached over 120 Mn audience, and 90% of the highlights were watched within 12 hours of the match ending.
IPL Advertising on Hotstar: Advantages For Advertisers
High Impact Advertising: The impact of Hotstar advertising during IPL is unparalleled. Here is a snapshot of the average lift offered by Hotstar ads during IPL (IPL 2021):
As seen in the above image, advertising on IPL on Hotstar has brought an uplift across aided awareness, message association, brand favorability, and purchase intent.
Not only this, when compared to other mediums of advertising, Hotstar IPL has brought a disproportionate amount of impact when compared to the share of spends (as seen in image above). A detailed analysis for IPL 2020 ads is in the following section.
- Audience profile: Major part of the IPL audience on Hotstar is formed by the millennial and Gen Z (Above 15 years of age), urban males with high purchasing power and a high propensity to buy. A report by KPMG has categorized digital users of the country in various brackets based on the income level and evolution of these digital users. The audience profile of Hotstar matches that to the top-level digital consumers of the country- Digital Sophisticates (top 3%) and parts of Digital Enthusiasts (36%) and has the following characteristics:
- They belong to the top income bracket in the country and complete most transactions online.
- Likely to have several paid video & audio subscriptions that make it difficult to target them through advertising on digital platforms since Hotstar IPL is one of the fewest media to advertise to paid subscribers of OTT.
- Highly engaged users: Apart from live sports, Hotstar also offers regional language commentary, a live sports game to play, and a social feed to share emojis and comments, and this year, they have introduced watch parties as well. The result is a highly engaged user.
- Brand association with IPL: IPL is one of the highest valued brands in the country and last year it grew by 13.5%. People are emotionally connected to the brand as well as consider it one of the most premium brands. Apart from this, IPL matches are high-impact platforms where ads can leave a long-lasting effect on the audience’s mind.
- Low cost per reach: 1000 ad impressions (views) can cost as low as INR 250, ie. 25 paise per view for mid-roll video ads.
- Low advertising budget: Sports advertising is widely popular for being a high-impact property. For years, sports advertising has meant television advertising where although reach is high, advertising packages have been exorbitantly high-priced. Hotstar has disrupted this practice by offering advertising packages for as low as INR 2 Lakhs. Now advertisers have more power in their hands to decide where and how to advertise.
- Targeting options: One of the major advantages that Hotstar offers is the ability to target the audience during a live match. This is something unheard of for other platforms. Hotstar which has an edge when it comes to technical expertise and high reach offers a number of audiences targeting filters to select their audience. We will discuss this in detail in the next section.
IPL On Hotstar: What are The Various Options For Advertising on Hotstar
Brands who want to raise their awareness among the audience and capture their attention should opt for IPL advertising. These are apt for both online and offline brands like FMCG, automobile, etc.
These ads are charged on the basis of views/impressions. The objective of these ads would be to reach out to a maximum number of people and gain their attention and trust by showing these ads for optimum number of times.
- Mid-Roll Video Ads
Mid roll video ads are 10-30 sec non-skippable ads that would be played during the over breaks, drink breaks, and other breaks during the live streaming of matches.
These ads are very effective in terms of branding because they are long enough to narrate a touching story and are delivered to an audience that is highly engaged in the match.
However, these might not be a very good option for driving traffic to the website since people would not like to leave a live match to visit another website. Only one level of targeting is possible for mid roll video ads.
- Pre-Roll Video Ads
Pre-roll video ads are 5-10 sec long non-skippable ads that are played before the live streaming of a game starts. Since these are played before the live streaming of matches, they are not as high impact as mid-roll ads but experience a higher CTR. Two levels of targeting are possible in the case of pre-roll video ads.
- Branded Cards
Branded Cards are simple banners that carry the brand logo and message. These are placed just below the live streaming of matches in the social live feed. Brand cards can also go under 2 levels of targeting.
Following is a comparative table having details about all the three ads types:
|App/Website||Mobile App, Website & Connected TV||Mobile App & Website||Mobile App|
|Ad Length||10-30 sec||5-10 sec||NA|
|Placement||Within the live video, during over breaks/drink breaks||Before the live video starts streaming*||Appears in the social live feed*|
|Avg CTR||~0.2% to 0.5%||~2% to 4%||~0.5%|
|No. Of Targeting Possible||1||2||2|
IPL on Hotstar: Understanding the Targeting Options
Hotstar offers 25 cohorts/target audience groups for advertisers to select from. These targeting options can be divided into 3 categories/levels:
Based on geography, there are 18 location options to select the target geography. Advertisers can select one or a combination of more than one location based on their target audience. Following are the 18 locations options:
- Combination of cities:
- Top 6 Metros: Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai, Kolkata, Bangalore & Hyderabad
- 1 Mn+ Town: Pune, Ahmedabad, Jaipur, Patna, Indore, Bhopal, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Ernakulam, Ranchi, Surat, Chandigarh, Kanpur
- Combination of states:
- HSM (Hindi Speaking Market): Pan India minus the Southern States
- Southern States: Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, Kerala
- North India: Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Jammu & Kashmir, and Himachal Pradesh
- West India: Maharashtra and Gujarat
- East India: West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Bihar, Jharkhand & North Eastern States
- Individual States: Maharashtra, Gujarat, AP + Telangana, Tamil Nadu, UP + the UK
- Individual Cities: Mumbai, Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai & Kolkata
Audience targeting is based on the audience profile- gender, language preference, and apps used.
- Female: Even though Cricket is believed to be a male-dominant space, more and more female audiences are being added every year. Last year the female viewership during IPL reached up to 200 Mn, which was 27% more than the combined viewership of top 5 GEC channels.
- Using Female targeting, brands can target the female audience of IPL 2022 on Hotstar.
- SMB (Small, Medium Businesses): An appography based targeting option where you can reach users based on their usage of apps related to business.
IPL advertising has always been deemed best for B2C advertising but this targeting would help B2B brands to target their audience too. In the last IPL, JustDial, a B2B brand was one of the most successful advertising brands.
- Regional Feed Targeting: This targeting is based on the language the audience selects for the in-match displays and the commentary. The available options are- Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada.
- 15K+ Devices: This targeting option is for brands who want to target a premium audience by showing ads to an audience having a handset of value of more than INR 15,000.
- Below INR 15K Devices: This targeting option is for brands who want to target the masses by showing ads to an audience having a handset of value less than INR 15,000.
For mid-roll video ads, only one cohort can be selected. For other advertising options, up to 2 levels of targeting can be selected but the advertiser has to select each from one category only (except geography). For example, a brand can select multiple locations from geography targeting options but only one from audience or device targeting options respectively.
How to use the IPL audience targeting options to maximum effect: Some Examples
Example 1: Targeting the Southern States: KKB Lungi
About the brand: KKB is a very popular lungi brand in the country.
Reason to select the targeting option: Lungi is particularly very popular in the Southern part of India. Men wear lungis at home as well as in public as well. Considering Hotstar has a significant population of the male population, targeting the Southern States region like Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh/Telangana, and Karnataka can help the brand to reach out to the audience in target geographies only.
Example 2: Targeting all the metro cities: Furlenco
About the brand: Furlenco is a popular furniture and appliances renting company.
Reason to select the targeting option: Furlenco has a presence in the top 6 metro cities. Considering the very high percentage of migrants in these metro cities (male form a higher percentage of the migrant population) and the convenience of renting furniture and appliances instead of buying, the IPL audience on Hotstar is a perfect fit for targeting. Hence, targeting the IPL audience in the six metros is a good idea for a company like Furlenco.
Example 3: Targeting Female: Niine
About the brand: Niine is a sanitary pad brand
Reason to select the targeting option: IPL is a high-impact advertising property and provides the best launchpad for brand-awareness campaigns. A sanitary pad is a product that’s used by females of all ages and in all geographies. Hence, targeting the female audience who’s watching IPL live on Hotstar can be a good idea.
Example 4: Targeting people with handset value less than INR 15K: Brand Factory
About the brand: Brand Factory is one of India’s biggest discount retail chains that offers a wide range of apparels.
Reason to select the targeting option: Brand Factory is one of the largest discount chains in India hence targeting budget handset would be an apt IPL 2022 advertising option on Hotstar.
Example 5: Targeting people with premium handsets (Handset Value above INR 15K): Imagine Stores
About the brand: Imagine stores are retailers of Apple products
Reason to select the targeting option: Apple products are expensive. People who already own a premium handset have a high affinity towards buying expensive handsets and other gadgets by Apple.
Example 6: Targeting small and medium businesses (SMBs): Shiprocket
About the brand: Shiprocket is a logistics aggregator that takes care of shipping for direct-to consumers sellers/brands.
Reason to select the targeting option: SMBs are Shiprocket’s target audience. Targeting SMBs through IPL advertising on Hotstar gives them an opportunity to pitch to tech-savvy business owners who would be the best audience for the brand.
IPL 2022 Advertising Rates
- For Pre-roll ad video: INR 280 for a 5-10 sec video for 1000 ad impressions
- For Mid-roll ad video: for 1000 ad impressions
- Live (10-sec): INR 250
- Highlights (10-sec): INR 210
- Living Room (10-sec): INR 480
- For Branded cards on Social Feed: INR 100 for 1000 ad impressions
- For each level of targeting- additional 33% for Mid-roll video ad and ~50% for Pre-roll video ad and branded cards on the social feed.
How to calculate the cost of advertising on IPL 2022 on Hotstar?
Understanding the IPL advertising rates can be quite confusing because of the targeting levels and ad length. So, here’s a simple flowchart that would help you understand the IPL 2022 advertising rates. Following is a figure above in a tabular format below: Advertising types and their rates (Hotstar IPL ads).
Want to know an estimate of what would be your IPL 2022 budget? Check out our Hotstar IPL 2022 advertising budget calculator.
Other popular IPL 2022 Ad Types
Features (Squeeze Ups)
Non-clickable squeeze-ups at key moments. These are high-visibility assets. The ownership/sponsorship for these ad types happens at a tournament level. Following are various occasions when features are displayed:
- Super 4s
- Super 6s
- Fall of Wickets
- Super Saves
- Scorecard: Brand presence during the scorecard display
- Billboard: First view display on all app pages.
IPL 2022 Sponsorship Packages: A brief overview
Apart from the usual IPL 2022 advertising options, here are a few IPL 2022 sponsorship packages. All the sponsorship packages cover one or more Hotstar IPL 2022 ad types discussed above. To know more about them, send an email to Help@TheMediaAnt.com.
1. Sponsorship Tier: Co-Presenting
Co-presenting sponsorship packages cost about INR 150 Crore and are estimated to reach about 130-150 million people.
2. Sponsorship Tier: Powered by
Powered by sponsorship packages cost about INR 40 Crore and are estimated to reach about 100-120 million people.
3. Sponsorship Tier: Associate
Associate sponsorship packages cost about INR 25 Crore and are estimated to reach about 70-80 million people.
4. Captain Association
5. Team Association
IPL Advertising 2022: The Hotstar Advantage and how to get the maximum out of your investment?
Common questions about IPL advertising
Q1 – What is the minimum billing value for advertising in IPL 2021 on Hotstar?
A- The minimum billing value for Hotstar IPL 2021 advertising is INR 1 Lakh.
Q2- Can advertisers select certain matches?
A- No, selecting specific matches is not allowed.
Q3- Can advertisers schedule multiple creatives as per the match?
A- Advertisers can have multiple creatives for IPL advertising on Hotstar but cannot schedule them as per the match.
Q4- Will the ads be shown to the paid subscribers for Hotstar?
A- Yes, but advertisers cannot select paid or non-paid subscribers exclusively.
Q5- Can advertisers set a frequency cap for the ads?
A- No, advertisers cannot set a frequency cap for the ads but after the campaign ends, we can get a report to know the actual frequency of the ads.
Q6- Can we re-target the audience on other programs after IPL advertising?
Hotstar Advertising during IPL: Some Case Studies
Following are some Hotstar advertising case studies during IPL:
1. How an e-commerce giant promoted its annual sale season through IPL 2020 on Hotstar.
- Brand: Flipkart
- Category: E-commerce
- Campaign Objective: To promote Big Billion Days Sale
- Approach & Targeting: Customized scheduling, Takeover of IPL Social Feed (Exclusive brand page), Celebrity Duets
- Creative: As shown in the figure below
- Highest visibility in the festive sale period- reached 38 million.
- Exclusive brand page presence on IPL social feed generated a funnel of 2 million visitors with a 2% organic CTR.
- The celebrity duets drove ~7lakh interactions.
2. How a pre-used car seller improved its brand uplift through customised ad scheduling
- Brand: Car Dekho
- Category: Automobile
- Campaign Objective: To maximize user intent
- Approach & Targeting: Chaser ads: Car Dekho ads were scheduled after auto OEM ads
- Creative: As shown in the figure below
- There was a 9% uplift in consideration vs the benchmark of 7%.
3. How an FMCG brand conveyed the geo-targeted message in key markets through Hotstar advertising
- Brand: Maggi
- Category: FMCG
- Campaign Objective: Geo-targeted messaging to build brands in key markets
- Approach & Targeting: Creatives specific to each market
- Mid-roll Video Ads
- 16% increase in brand awareness
- 9% increase in a purchase intent
4. How a B2B Finance App built awareness and drove app installs
- Brand: Khatabook
- Category: Finance
- Campaign Objective: To reach a relevant audience to build awareness and drive app installs
- Approach & Targeting: B2B targeting- retailers and business owners
- Mid-roll Video Ads
- 1.5 lakh installs
5. How a soap brand reached out to its core audience through audience targeting- female
- Brand: Lux
- Category: FMCG
- Campaign Objective: Brand building in relevant TGs
- Approach & Targeting: Female audience targeting
- Mid-roll Video Ads
- Uplift of 11% in Ad awareness
- Uplift of 9% in consideration
6. How a coupon brand drove user acquisition by investing in performance heavy assets
- Brand: Cashkaro.com
- Category: Finance
- Campaign Objective: To drive app installs
- Approach & Targeting: 6s Pre-roll and 10s Mid-roll ads
- 70K installs in 2 weeks
- 80% install to sign-up rate
- 2% CTR
IPL Advertising Tips: How to design an effective creative?
A number of our customers ask us if there are any tips/best practices that we can share on how the video creatives for Hotstar advertising during IPL matches should be. So, we thought we would add the same here.
One important thing to keep in mind while conceptualizing an IPL ad is that during IPL live matches, the audience is totally engrossed in the cricket match. Hence, while we understand that it’s a high impact spot but a lot of it also depends on the video creative.
If the creative is contextual and captures the audience’s attention without being a distractor, then the purpose is solved. For example, Swiggy had an insight that while watching a match, people usually order food.
Using this insight, they designed the entire campaign where for every sixer, a special discount was offered to the audience.
This is the best example of driving website traffic and purchase without diverting audience attention from the game.
In the previous section, we discussed the recent Hotstar study on 138 IPL ad campaigns carried during IPL 2020. Here are some of the learnings from Hotstar in terms of creative (The CLIPS Principle)
- Clear brand role in the story: Interesting creatives are good but the essence lies in how well have you written the character your brand plays. About 92% of creatives followed this principle in IPL 2020 and saw a 1.8X impact.
- Last frame but also the first: Most digital ads end with a CTA page where the brand name and logo are displayed but a good practice is to include the brand name and logo in the first frame too. Only 57% of the creatives in IPL 2020 followed this and it got them 1.2X incremental impact.
- Integrate early: Do you like to keep your audience in suspense till the last frame of your ad or you integrate your brand early in the creative makes a big difference. 78% of the creatives in IPL 2020 followed this and got a 1.1X incremental impact.
- Presence of Human/Celebrity: When trying to establish a brand, a human face/ even better, a known face can help the audience connect with the brand and the ad. 91% creatives in IPL 2020 followed this and had a 1.9X incremental impact.
- Simple & clear messaging: IPL breaks are short and most audiences have a short attention span hence, the simpler and clearer the message is, the more impact it would create. 93% creatives followed this advice and the incremental impact was 1.4X.
Bonus: Contextual ads perform better. Here are the top performing campaigns of IPL 2021 on Hotstar with cricketing context and cricket stars:
- Dream 11
IPL Advertising 2022 on Hotstar: How to measure the performance of your campaign?
While advertising on IPL 2022 on Hotstar, brands also have an option to opt for a 3rd party install/attribution measurement software as well as brand lift studies to help understand the performance of their campaign (at a nominal cost).
Want to know more about 3rd party installs/ attribution software? Check out our article on top 5 digital marketing attribution software.
Following popular 3rd party trackers are compatible with Hotstar platform and can be integrated at a nominal cost of ~INR 1 CPM.
- Double Click Manager
Interested to know more about IPL advertising read our other article;