Companies are trying pitch in with sport in any form. They are ready to look beyond cricket for the first time:
- ITC has a Sunfeast Women’s Tennis tourney coming up
- Nokia is sponsoring Golf
- Airtel is promoting Motor sports
- Arisia Diamonds is sponsoring Polo in Jaipur
- Standard Chartered is sponsoring the Mumbai Marathon
“Sport and sport stars often acquire larger than life image and brands want to leverage that,” says Ravi Naware, CEO, ITC Foods. “We found a clear fit between Sunfeast and the sport.”
No doubt sports has grown tremendously as a advertising medium, the jump in viewership and the resultant large share in the advertising pie clearly establish the fact that its here to stay. According to media tracking firm TAM, in the year 2004, the viewership increased from a low of 2% to 9% in a matter of three years, and simultaneously the sports advertising cornered nearly a tenth of the total ad spend, up from a measly 3% three years ago.
The consumer durable company Samsung spends close to 15 per cent of his advertising spends on sports advertising. “Sports can be used very effectively for brand building, but it all depends on how a brand wants to position itself, says Ravinder Zutshi, deputy MD, Samsung. And the rising interest for sports amongst corporates can be gauged from the fact that, even a niche sports channel like ESPN Star Sports has totted up 145 clients up from 84, the year before last.
And in the past 15 odd years, both have taken turns to be the favourite medium for marketers. In the early 90s, it was Sachin who caught everyone’s imagination. When that novelty wore off, more cricket stars jumped in to cause a clutter, forcing some marketers to look for diiferentiators in Bollywood stars like Shahrukh and Amitabh Bachchan. Life has come a full circle. Sportstars are hot property again.
And leading the newbie tribe is Sania Mirza. “She is the hottest property ruling the imagination of the youngsters of the nation today,” says Anirban Das, VP, Globosport.
Can Marketers leverage Sports other than Cricket? Are marketers prefering Sania over Sachin?