IPL in the festive season is a celebration for fans and brands alike

ipl 2020

Social Samosa explores the recovery opportunities that are expected to crop up with IPL 2020 coinciding with festive marketing efforts.

A pandemic is an intriguing phenomenon in itself. On one hand, it forces people to take shelter in closed spaces, on the other, it adds to their resilience of finding ways to push boundaries within. One of the key factors in enabling the community to come together as one has been sports. Especially in India, cricket is a key force. Thus, IPL 2020 making a comeback in Dussehra-Diwali makes it an important occasion for brands and viewers alike. 

Between April & August, there was uncertainty about the future of IPL 2020, severely impacting the marketing ecosystem and related commerce. News of renewal this September and matches to be played in UAE, there seems to be some relief around the corner. With IPL and Dussehra-Diwali happening together, there is a lot for brands to unpack and bring normalcy in the market. 

With Unlock now in progress, consumers & brands alike, have been showing signs of taking up the road to recovery. In spite of the changed situation, consumers are now ready to act on pent up needs and indulge from the last couple of months. Brands too have been reacting to improving the environment with revised media plans, including strategic spends on high engagement events such as Ganesh Chaturthi and Independence Day. 

Undying Spirit of Fans 

Resumption of sports has gotten fans around the globe, not just excited to see their favourite players back on the field, but has given them something to look forward to as everyone reels in the after-effects of the lockdown & the pandemic. 

Fans have not only celebrated the resumption of their favourite sporting events, but have also been at the forefront with UGC in the form of memes, polls, and opinions resulting in earned media of large proportions. 

Data too has backed the fact that resumption of sports has been widely awaited. According to a recent report by Germin8, more than 80% of conversations online were around football & cricket with the latter occupying 44% of the conversations. Further, 69% of users were pro- resumption of sports. 

The conversation was not only restricted to the sport but was also about practices and logistics for safe sports. Tweets regarding IPL 2020, reopening of selective grounds after the lockdown and Eng vs WI test series were the major contributors. With IPL resumption being discussed widely on Twitter, #IPLInUAE & #IPL2020 were amongst the trending hashtags. 


Over the years regional penetration of IPL has strengthened, raking massive viewership & engagement for the league. According to reports, Star India’s customised regional feeds were watched by 194 million viewers for a total of 75 billion minutes. 

With memes evolving as a popular litmus test of consumer sentiment towards any given occurrence, IPL 2020 has seen a varied range of emotions — ranging from excitement to pride. Many users also have lauded the new timing. 

Also Read: Sports marketing 2019: A year that was

The Brand Stance 

The positive fan sentiment & evident excitement offer more and enough indicators for brands to amp up their sports marketing efforts as well. 

IPL 2020 offers a unique opportunity as it coincides with the Dussehra & Diwali when consumer spending across many categories is expected to pick up significantly. Brands advertising through IPL has only increased – reports highlight that IPL 12 witnessed a 100% increase in ad volumes with 246 brands from 95 categories advertising during the period. With mounting excitement around IPL and the economy pegged to revive during Dussehra-Diwali , the combined opportunity can present brands with ample opportunities.

Puneet Das, Vice President Marketing – Beverages India, Tata Consumer Products shared from an FMCG industry perspective that consumers are bound to feel the lipstick effect where they splurge on small indulgences and premium products. Brands will want to leverage these surges, with aggressive, innovative, and bold strategies by being visible and on top of consumers and sports fans Minds.

Speaking from an industry perspective, Vijay Kaul, DGM, Yamaha too shared that “Pre-festival, mid-August onwards, the market will improve. India being a growing market will bounce back quickly.” 

Advertising Inspiration 

It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the term Sports Marketing has completely reinvented itself in the last few years. From sponsorship and in-stadia branding to interactive marketing experiences across platforms – brands have leveraged sports tournaments for various purposes.

With a little inspiration and creativity much can be achieved on the sports marketing front.The latest Nike campaign for NBA stands true to this fact – the brand film has mesmerised the audience and industry alike, with its tagline “You Can’t Stop Sports” breaking all barriers.

A great example of this is Swiggy’s 2018 campaign. Swiggy, bet big on ‘No Order too Small’, showing how consumers can use the app for the smallest orders. The campaign blended the sacred relationship of food & watching cricket by using cricket commentary in the background and depicting relatable sports watching instances. Swiggy’s campaign was not only engaging but made an impact on Swiggy business with app installs, increase in the number of users and creating an inflexion in its demand profile, parallelly catapulting Swiggy as a national brand. 

With a crisis of magnitude as wide as the Coronavirus, the world has been reeling in the changes & challenges. In a situation like this, sports isn’t just a getaway, but a common theme that binds communities together. IPL 2020 has emerged as a celebration that fans across regions and geographies have been awaiting. With difficulties engulfing the nation since the last few months, the arrival of IPL 2020 marks the inauguration of normalcy for views, consumers, and brands alike.