Star Sports looks to make IPL 2019 more inclusive

MUMBAI: With the 12th edition of the cash rich Indian Premier League (IPL) kicking off next month, Star Sports is doing initiatives to make the event even more attractive for kids and the family. A lot of effort will be put on weekend programming.

A report in ‘Economic Times’ noted that last year an effort was made to grow the audience base through language feeds. Meanwhile on Star Sports Select the Select Dug-Out initiative was done to bring purists closer to the game.

This year broadcaster will bring in entertainment channels. “We have learned that cricket is such a massive sport that you really can’t have a one-size-fits-all approach. And this is India’s biggest event, so we will customise the feeds for different groups of audience,” Star Sports CEO Gautam Thakar told the newspaper.

To grow the appeal of the league among families and kids Star India will have Super Sundays, where the Sunday matches, opening and closing matches will be aired across Hindi and regional language movie or mass entertainment channels apart from regional sports channels. The aim is to grow a second layer of audience. The report further noted that the broadcaster is planning to get kids on the commentator panel on Sundays.

The Sunday matches will be aired on Star Gold (Hindi), Vijay Super (Tamil), Maa Movies (Telugu), Star Suvarna (Kannada), Jalsha Movies (Bengali), Star Pravah (Marathi) and Asianet Plus (Malayalam). Regional sports channels in Tamil, Kannada, Telugu, and Bangla (to be launched ahead of IPL) will carry matches on all days.

“From our perspective, this is the second year and we have learned a lot in year one. We know that IPL is by far India’s biggest property across genres and Sony did a nice job in getting it to that level. Now, we are excited to take it to the next level,” he told ‘Economic Times’.

Meanwhile a port in ‘Mint’ noted that Star has also kick-started the IPL marketing campaign with a new tagline Game banayega name, which will highlight how sheer talent can take you anywhere.

The report said that as of 25 February, Star signed Tata Harrier and Fashion Big Bazaar (FBB) as official partners , Paytm as the umpire partner and Ceat as the strategic timeout partner. It has 12 television sponsors and seven digital streaming sponsors, including brands such as Amazon Pay, Coca-Cola, Asian Paints, Maruti Suzuki, and MakeMyTrip.

“We are convinced that we will deliver the IPL which is bigger than ever. At this point, we are ahead of last year both in terms of number of sponsors, total revenue, and inventory utilisation. We are selling Hotstar and TV together mostly with an option to buy an individual platform as per the requirement of an advertiser,” Thakar told ‘Mint’.