A look at Mumbai Indians
In a country where cricket is considered as a religion, a tournament called Indian Premier League was started in the year 2008 with 8 teams. Just before this year, India won the T20 world cup and as a result of which BCCI thought to gamble on this format of the game. The gamble really worked and what we have now is a cash rich league which attracts almost all the big names in the world and also promotes local talent.
One team which is among the hot favourites right from the commencement of this format is Mumbai Indians (MI). Let me remind you that one man who is considered as the God of Cricket was the captain of this team. Referred as the Little Master by the cricket pundits, Sachin Tendulkar was an excellent bet by this team as he himself was a huge brand which eventually attracted a lot of fans. This team is owned by Mrs. Nita Ambani and is the most expensive team in the league. So along with Sachin’s brand, this team had the tag of Reliance associated with it which itself created a lot of hype. The fan following of this team can be seen from the fact that despite being at the fifth position in the last season, it had the highest impressions per match (18.57 million). Let’s dig deeper to find out the marketing strategies of this team which itself is now a brand.
- Strong Social Media and Mobile Marketing
- Events and Experiences
- Social Initiatives
- Support Staff
Strong Social Media Marketing
Be it Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Pinterest, MI has its presence everywhere. They call their follower as MI Paltan which itself connects people with the team. They have around 100 million followers on Facebook, around 1 million followers on Instagram and 2 million followers on Twitter. Right from sharing all the important news related to teams, the information about each and every player is also shared on these platforms, be it their birthdays or remarkable achievements. These mediums also provide a sneak peek into the team’s dressing room scenes, fielding sessions, celebrations which are actually not shown on television.
According to the surveys, their virality scores, popularity scores, engagement scores as well as conversation scores are all on the higher side as compared to other teams. Various social media campaigns such as the one organised in association with Royal Stag which involved quizzes were a huge success among the fans. Other campaigns such as Toss ka Boss were also quite famous. Unlike other teams, it also had its presence on Pinterest where it ran #RetireTheJerseyNo10 campaign after Sachin retired. Talking about Twitter, the language used in the posts is local which helps in a strong brand connect. #AkkhaMumbaiKhelega hashtag is one such step that promotes the team. YouTube is also being extensively used by MI for the exclusive videos of the team. Not only this, it has also launched its app to connect with the fans. This app used to give a holistic view into the team’s journey apart from live scores and other exciting information. Another interesting feature of this app is the MITV, which will show exclusive videos of players on and off the field. So whatever may be the medium, MI has its strong presence everywhere to remain connected with the fans.
Sponsorships are something which are huge sources of revenues and at the same time great promotional aids. MI has been associated with big companies from the beginning itself. Some of the biggest sponsors are Videocon D2H and Etihad Airways. Apart from this the associate sponsors and partners are DHFL, Samsung, Pepsi, Yatra.com, Jet Airways, BookMyShow, Radio City 91.1, Ola and a lot more. Most of these brands are visible on the jersey of the team. These strong brands help MI to maintain its presence among the crowd.
Events and Experience
Radio City 91.1 FM rejoiced ‘Dil se Indian, Mumbai Indians’ in the last season of IPL. During this event, various on air contests were organised and the lucky winners used to win the MI merchandise and match tickets. The catchy slogans and the jingles by the radio attracted a lot of people. The team also had appeared in promotional events of Kingfisher, Hero Moto Corp., Disney, DHFL, etc. Apart from this a series of games were organised at various CCD outlets which gave a boost to the promotions. Winning such games provided the winners to get the match tickets.
Heavy weights of the Bollywood and cricket are involved in the advertisements of MI. The theme song of the team has typical Mumbai background and Hrithik Roshan as its face. The song started with the words ‘Aala re Aala’ which connected it with the masses. Apart from this, various advertisements in collaboration with Videocon D2H and Pepsi also became quite famous among the youth.
Recently MI partnered with Diesel, the pioneer of denims. Together in collaboration they planned to launch limited collection merchandise for the fans. This partnership makes MI unique as it is the first of its kind partnership between a global brand and an IPL team. The merchandise includes t-shirts, polos, jackets, sweatshirts, denims and accessories as well. Whenever there is an IPL match, fans are seen donning the team’s jersey to show their support.
Education for All (EFA), an initiative by MI along with the collaboration with the city based NGOs aims at providing education to the underprivileged children. In the last five years, the campaign has already reached out to more than 70000 children Every year there is a match in Mumbai where Mrs. Nita Ambani along with around 20000 children cheer for the team by watching the live match in the stadium. Sachin Tendulkar has also been roped in this initiative. This step not only helps such children also sends a positive view about the team among the masses.
A factor which differentiated MI from all the teams during all these years is the support staff. Whatever may be the occasion, the commentators never forget to mention about the MI’s thinking tank. Their support staff included the likes of Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting (now retired), Jonty Rhodes, Anil Kumble (now retired). John Wright, Shane Bond, etc. These players are one of the most favourite cricketers of all time. This has created a lot of hype. Not only this, time and again, Mumbai has been able to buy some really good cricketers such as Sanath Jayasuriya, Andrew Symonds, Mitchell Johnson, Maxwell, Malinga, Bhajji and many more. Their captain, Rohit Sharma, is also one of the factor people support this team. So not only the typical marketing strategies, but the support staff and the players are also responsible for such a huge fan following.
- Target tier-2 and tier-3 cities for hunting the local talent as India has found some really great raw talent which have outshined everyone on the international level. Jasprit Bumrah is one such example. This will not only help India in future but will also make MI reach to the smaller cities.
- To increase its popularity, some of the home matches can be shifted to tier-2 and tier-3 cities. This is very much possible and depends on the franchise owner and will increase fan following.
- To promote itself in the international market, some of the international stars should be associated for advertisements.
- Events such as one at CCD should be more frequent.
Only marketing will not help a team to remain the hot favourites. It has to win the tournaments also. MI is the only team which has won both IPL and Champions League twice that too in the last 5 years. To show the support, the entire stadium is painted in blue (jersey colour) which itself attracts people on televisions. This year as well, MI has roped in Mahela Jayawardene as its head coach, thus strengthening its support staff. The brand Sachin will still continue with the team and under the leadership of the Hitman (Rohit as referred fondly), this team seems to win many more titles and maintain its presence among its crazy fans.