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Let’s tell you a story. Once upon a time, a few British soldiers came to Indian shores and thought it’d be a great idea to boost morale and alliterate by starting the Calcutta Cricket Club Clippers (now known as the Calcutta Cricket and Football Club). They played a few games by the Hooghly river and that’s how cricket in India was born.
But little did they know that a few friendly matches would drive a passion for the game so great that they’d have to concede defeat multiple times on their home turf.
Or that India would own one of the richest sporting leagues in the world (the Indian Premier League) and some of its own franchises would grow to buy T20 teams as far away as South Africa.
In this week’s newsletter, we take a look at the world’s obsession with Indian cricket, how Chennai Super Kings has become India’s first ‘Sports Unicorn’ and how the attention economy is changing the value of sports leagues and sports stars.
We also zoom in on how Uber plans to expand its ads business by 10 times based on the DOOH (direct-out-of-home) model.
Catch all this and more from the world of gaming, monetisation, content, streaming, and advertising in our weekly newsletter. We hope you enjoy reading it. If you do, please subscribe and share it with your friends and colleagues. Happy reading!
To cater to Indian Cricket fans in the US, FanCode, in association with DV360, is going to stream live matches between India and the West Indies.
This is a very specific intersection of audience, sport, time and platform. And it’s the first time it’s not on a private TV channel. It has all the makings of a test market where Fancode can reference everything to make sure that they inject just the right amount of experimentation and come away with some learnings.
Live sport is notoriously difficult to monetise since it depends heavily on maintaining the integrity of the live stream in itself. Historically, it’s hard for publishers to activate campaigns because of the unpredictable nature of the streaming itself. What if it gets rained down? What if it gets a little fast? But like most apps today, commerce is at the centre of the application rather than being an afterthought.
This format comes with a very specific audience, and advertising needs to match up. Fortunately, cricket is one of the few sports that truly lends itself to advertising where audiences are expecting it to be live and the audience in the stadium also expects an ad break. This makes it easier for advertisers to address. But in a programmatic scenario, it can still get extremely messy. So, this is a good place for the industry to start experimenting a little because the audience is so controlled and specific. The mistakes are going to be small, the gains massive and the learnings great.
Joe Pompliano from The Huddle talks about the relationship between sport and money across various game formats. For example, The Drew League, a pro-am league in California, had basketball star LeBron James show up last weekend. Historically, big names like Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, DeMar DeRozan, James Harden, and others have played there in the offseason. Even the NBA broadcasted the Drew League game with LeBron on the NBA app, which is the first time that NBA streamed a pro-am game.
This begs the question ‘what is the value of a sports league?’. Today, you’re not just a player for a team with a salary. Your worth is measured in terms of your name, image and likeness. There are alternate leagues and star players who are businessmen in their own right. Spencer Dinwiddie is tokenising his own contract. Naomi Osaka has launched her own agency. LeBron James has a content company. Today, sportspersons are their own brand ambassadors and they don’t need external talent to drum up attention for them. Sports, sportspeople, content and attention are worth so much more than what is on a player’s paycheck.
Today, a small league in a corner of California can attract the highest paying, paid basketball player in history like LeBron James. Where LIV Golf and the Premier Lacrosse League can create their own properties, competing directly with larger leagues. This all points to the fact that sports today caters to a wide audience – there are the consumers of the sport, citizens of the sport and then there are sports connected to media and money. All this is going to change sports the way we know and watch it.
Uber has big plans for its ad business and plans to hit USD$1bn in ad revenue by 2024. With 118 million active monthly users, Uber plans to target advertisers from travel, finance, retail, and entertainment, outside the consumer product and restaurant brands that it’s already tied up with. Ciarán O’Kane, from ExchangeWire, believes ‘this could power their DOOH walled garden with incredibly granular user segments.’
One of the secrets to being able to hit USD$1bn is going to be Uber’s ability to tap into Digital Out-Of-Home as a source of ad revenue. Smart marketers will realise that they need to expect different outcomes from different advertising media. DOOH has a native benefit that isn’t found in any other ad format. For example, take British Airways’ famous Look Up campaign from 2013. Digital advertising may be measurable, and television might offer reach, but the engagement, beauty and uniqueness of a well-crafted outdoor ad can’t be found elsewhere. Today, the Internet is surrounding us, as opposed to us going to the Internet. Uber’s tapping into DOOH is a beautiful example of the evolution of this ad format.
Netflix announced its Q2 results with some “better-than-expected” and “worse-than-expected” news. For Q3, the popular streaming platform has projected a 5% revenue growth, which ‘translates into 12% year-over-year revenue growth on a constant currency basis.’
Chennai Super Kings’ market cap touched a high of ₹7,600 crores, making it India’s first unicorn sports enterprise. N Srinivasan, MD of India Cements, believes the passion for Indian cricket will ensure that ‘brand CSK’ overtakes ‘brand India Cements’.
Chennai Super Kings, Lucknow Super Giants, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Mumbai Indians, Rajasthan Royals and one of the owners of Delhi Capitals have bid successfully for all six teams in South Africa’s new T20 league. The league, which is scheduled to start in January 2023, will be run by Cricket South Africa along with television broadcaster SuperSport