Cricket to dominate advertisers' preferences in 2019: ESP study

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MUMBAI: ESP Properties, GroupM India’s sports and entertainment marketing agency, has released its latest study ‘Top Sports and Entertainment Trends for 2019’.

The report highlights that all digital and television consumption records in cricket will be smashed this year courtesy the IPL, World Cup 2019 and the Indian home season.

India’s successful tour of Australia and New Zealand recently has got the ball rolling. The sports tourism industry will get a further boost with more excitement surrounding the World Cup, which will be held in England and Wales.

ESP believes that during IPL 2019, Hotstar’s upgraded ‘Watch and Play’ feature will raise the bar higher for brands to engage with consumers on non-linear platforms in sports, which will take preference over traditional, linear ones. Data analytics and player access will be used by advertisers and sponsors for the purpose.

In terms of sports marketing trends, brands will further leverage the social media and the power of storytelling featuring inspirational athletes in their advertisements. The tool’s popularity could result in a policy created by different NSFs and sporting leagues for social media engagements and media appearances which involve athletes on national duty.

When it comes to eSports, mobile gaming is all set to get a massive push in India when traditionally, it is computers and consoles that are preferred in eSports competitions the world over. PUBG has already found a sponsor in OPPO Mobile for a national gaming competition, which is quite an incentive. The game already has more than 10 million daily active users and that number is expected to rise, despite controversies over the social impact it has on younger children.

ESP Properties India business head Vinit Karnik stated: "2019 will be a year for sports and entertainment. With cricket on our minds for more than half the year, brands would want to revolve their game around the sport and athletes. While eSports is becoming big, it is only expected to get bigger. Almost 20 per cent of share of spend is expected in digital and ad spends in sports and entertainment marketing is expected to grow."

Cricket to dominate media and mind measures in 2019
Cricket is in full swing in H1 2019 with Team India moving bases from Australia to New Zealand post the ODI series and following it up with hosting Australia in February to play ODI’s & T20’s. Then comes Vivo IPL and ICC Cricket World Cup, making Virat Kohli and his boys the talk of the town for the first six months in 2019 and literally monopolizing consumer eyeballs and advertising money. 2019 will break all records of cricket consumption on TV and Digital. With the ICC World Cup in England & Wales and considering our love for London, Indians will break all worldwide records of traveling overseas to watch sports and boost the sports tourism economy. With such a start to the year dominated by cricket, emerging leagues may have to reset themselves to make their presence felt and stay relevant.

Embrace the athlete, embrace their stories
One of the biggest marketing trends of this year is storytelling and we expect talent to unlock maximum value in 2019. Sporting landscape, led by cricket, will see the true value of talent beyond the top cricketers being unlocked. Audiences not only want to be taken on a journey, but they also want to connect with brands. Brands which can use Athlete and their storytelling power will garner massive interest from fans and advertisers owing to mass media exposure via TV and one-to-one engagement through social communities, rediscovering their true value. Federations and leagues will carefully evaluate talent contracts in terms of talent usage rights for self, sponsor activation and scope of the engagement. With social media becoming the primary engagement platform, the right balance between personal and public imagery will be most talked and debated in 2019. One can’t rule out a policy for talent on national duty for social media engagements and media appearances. This space will be super exciting in 2019, hence watch this space closely…

Broadcasting platforms to lean on data-driven insights and player access to engage and build fans
While traditional broadcast passed on gold standards of content from linear to non-linear platforms, best practices in consumer engagement will move from non-linear to linear platforms. For example, Watch ‘n’ Play on Hotstar during Vivo IPL 2018 has redefined consumer engagement norms for the traditional linear broadcaster(s) to follow. Moreover, increasing insistence on player access as a ‘sponsorship right’ in the sporting ecosystem is bound to blur lines of personal endorsements. With professional sporting ecosystem in India being over a decade old, advertisers have started looking at ‘sponsorship’ as a one-stop solution to media exposure and talent access.

Mobile Gaming to take center stage in the competitive CPU dominant professional esports world
Globally, professional esport competitions are primarily held on a computer and consoles and mobiles take a backseat. In India, we’re witnessing a different trend where tournaments being held on the mobile, courtesy - PUBG on mobile with DAU of approx. 10mn+ which is more than any other game in the world across any platform is already giving gamers in India almost half the prize money of an E-Sports League India and this is only going to further grow. There will be so many more mobile esport tournaments which will be seen in the coming future.