Marketing of IPL Explained

IPL 2020 began on uncertainties. However, with several startups sponsoring this cricket fest for the first time, the marketing of IPL was seamlessly integrated with the brand's marketing message.

IPL’s signature trumpet tone in 2020 remained undeterred and blew at the highest pitch despite the global crisis. As per BARC India viewership, IPL 2020 had clocked a cumulative reach of 405 million viewers out of the total TV universe of 836 million across 21 channels that Star and Disney India aired the matches on. With a total of 400 billion viewing minutes on TV, IPL 2020 event experienced a spike of 23% over IPL 2019 and a 12.4% increase over ICC World Cup 2019 i.e.,356 billion minutes surpassing all the previous viewership records held by any broadcasting property in India.The 13th season of IPL 2020 began on a crust of uncertainties due to the pandemic, witnessed an online gaming start-up replacing a Chinese company taking the sole charge of title sponsorships and many other Indian start-ups associated with this seven-week cricket blitzkrieg. This was the first time in the history of IPL that sponsorship profile invited many homegrown start-ups and lesser-known brands. With slower out-of-home consumption and IPL being held overseas, meaning zero ticket sales and marketing through the stadium windows, the marketing of IPL in 2020 was indeed a challenge. However, despite the challenges, IPL 2020 received a record-breaking viewership. As per Boston Consulting Group, the Indian audience’s content consumption on OTT platforms skyrocketed by 55-60 percent in 2020 due to the work from home model. Aware of the fact that Indians spend close to 4 hrs on smartphones every day, this year’s marketing strategy of IPL was largely dependent on the digital medium where the IPL marketing content was amalgamated with the brand content for the top-of-mind recall. 


As per BARC India viewership, IPL 2020 had clocked a cumulative reach of 405 million viewers out of the total TV universe of 836 million across 21 channels that Star and Disney India aired the matches on.

Marketing of IPL through Television 

Star Sports was the official broadcaster of IPL 2020, which charged Rs 12.5 lakh for a 10-second ad slot. Aware of the fact that start-ups will be aggressively advertising in this IPL season for maximum presence, BCCI did not offer any Covid discount to Star Sports while purchasing broadcasting rights. Star Sports has roped in 18 sponsors before the beginning of the tournament and signed 117 advertisers. Among the associate sponsors were Dream11, PhonePe, BYJU’S, VI, and Amazon, while the co-presenting sponsors were Mondelez, ITC Foods, Polycab, Diageo, P&G, Coca Cola, Hero, Facebook, KP Group, Daily Hunt, Samsung, Cred, and AMFI. Star Sports has generated revenues worth Rs 2300 crores -Rs 2400 crores of advertising revenue from TV as compared to Rs 2000 -2100 crores in 2019. Brands through its commercial on TV marketed the IPL event. For instance, JIO came up with its commercial Jio Dhan Dhana Dhan ad that featured players from Mumbai Indians, Royal Challengers Bangalore, and Delhi Capitals, including Bollywood actors Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh shaking a leg. The TV commercials remain incomplete without Swiggy ads where they featured directors Tigmanshu Dhulia, Hansal Mehta ordering many Swiggy food bags showcasing the attractive discounts offered during the IPL as well as hygiene measures followed behind a funny cricket commentary background. EdTech platform Unacademy in its commercial ‘cracking the game’ showcased in an IPL match how various fundamentals of physics, chemistry, and biology such as magnetic induction, gravity, speed, etc. were visible and applicable.  

Marketing of IPL through Start-ups/Apps 

Trell – a lifestyle video app in association with Chennai Super Kings has launched a digital IPL campaign – #CSKMillionAnthem on its app where users can watch exclusive videos, cheer for their teams, shop exclusive offers on Trell and stand a chance to meet their favourite CSK team players virtually. Through such digital campaigns, Trell aims to bring offline excitement and stadium cheer online, where users can celebrate the spirit of cricket with online communities through the art of storytelling

Myntra in IPL 2020 had partnered with three IPL teams to create innovative social media campaigns and virtual contests around IPL matches. One of them is ‘virtual Wankhede’ that was organised in association with the Mumbai Indians team allowing Mumbai Indian fans to cheer their team virtually. Myntra although through such campaigns wanted to increase reach in tier-II and tier-III cities, meanwhile involving teams is marketing for IPL as well.  

For the start-ups

Leveraging the digital medium, start-ups can create creative content that will align the marketing goals of the sports event as well as the brand offerings. This content strategy in marketing will help brands in gathering viewership, ensure virality and create a high recall value.

Shalmoli Sarkar
Shalmoli Sarkar
An MBA in marketing and a BTech in chemical engineering, Shalmoli writes on marketing strategies and business technology for new and aspiring entrepreneurs.



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