With actor Prosenjit for Bengali, NTR Junior for Telugu and Shiva Rajkumar in Kannada, Star India is harnessing the power of local actors and entertainers to push the non-Hindi, non-English viewership of the eleventh season of the Vivo Indian Premier League 2018 (IPL
2018). This is Star’s first time as IPL
broadcaster, having won the rights for a whopping Rs 163.5 billion from rival Sony Pictures Network in 2017. Having seen its regional language penetration strategy work with entertainment and movies, the broadcaster is hoping to replicate the story in sports.
Star India has launched city specific campaigns in Kannada, Telugu and Bengali, with three different brand ambassadors . The game will also be telecast in Tamil.
Sanjay Gupta, managing director, Star India said that the regionalisation revolution that happened in entertainment over the last few decades is now happening in sports.
Star’s regional entertainment channels like Star Jalsha and Suvarna will be used for some of the feeds while the Tamil feed will be available on Star Sports 1 Tamil. A source in the know says, “There’s a wide range of brands this time. Deals have been struck at Rs 20-30 million and also at as high as Rs 1-1.1 billion. By expanding the language feed and with digital on offer as well, advertisers have flexibility.”
The ambassadors will be a part of the television and digital campaign in their respective states and are likely to drive greater engagement with the league on social media platforms. The IPL
regional story reflects the growing hunt for original and sticky content among sports channels in the country, which are up to 27 in 2017, from 17 in 2015. The channels cater to 780 million viewers and language feeds get 20-30 per cent of viewership, while Hindi gets 60-70 per cent and English is just 10 per cent.