Exclusive: A lot of brands who have come on board have successfully done multiple activations – Tuhin Mishra, MD & Co-Founder, Baseline Ventures

Mr Tuhin opened up about the competition, sponsors and the stature of volleyball in India.

The RuPay Prime Volleyball League (PVL) kicked off its second season with a bang in the previous month as eight teams were pitted against each other to lift the prestigious title.

The inaugural season of the PVL was a sure-shot blockbuster as it garnered 41 million worldwide television viewers. The esteemed volleyball competition has become bigger with its arrival for the second time as the ongoing season has three venues (Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi) as compared to last year’s solitary venue (Hyderabad). One of the major updates ahead of the commencement of the season was the Telugu superstar becoming a co-owner of Hyderabad Black Hawks.  

Leading up to the season, the PVL teams managed to decorate their sponsorship portfolios and hit the ground running on-field. Capitalising on its momentum from the previous season along with multiple venues, the organisers of PVL will also aim to conclude the season on a terrific note, which is in its final stages.

In a tête-à-tête with Mr Tuhin Mishra, Managing Director and Co-Founder, Baseline Ventures and Co-Promoter of RuPay Prime Volleyball League, SportsMint Media learned a lot about the competition, sponsors and the stature of volleyball in India, which is a land of varied different sports receiving the utmost recognition.

1. Did multiple venues help RuPay Prime Volley League 2023 bring in more advertisers?

In the first season, we only had one venue but in the second season, we have three venue cities Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi. A lot of brands who have come on board have successfully done a lot of activations. Brands like RuPay, which is the title sponsor of the competition, are doing a lot of amazing work, they are doing activations in the stadium, with the fans and they also have a RuPay box. They are also doing a lot of things at the grassroots level. This is what sponsorship is all about, RuPay also tied up with a grassroots volleyball league named Brahmaputra Volleyball League. They also did an excellent campaign where they have selected eight players, one player from each team and compiled a nice video from that. So, such activations weren’t possible during the first season. Whether it is RuPay or Amul or any other sponsor, all of them are carrying out a lot of initiatives, just to engage with the fans.

2. With cricket being the most popular sport in India where does volleyball stand in that arena?

Before answering this I would like to mention that Volleyball is an Olympic sport and talking about India if you go to schools, parks, army bases and societies, there are volleyball courts everywhere. So volleyball is a popular sport in the country and people like to play it for recreation or fun.

3. In cricket, we have Rohit and Virat who can pull crowds and sponsors, so could someone like that in PVL also be helpful in the coming years?

It will and that’s why we need to build icons and sports have the potential of creating icons. And that’s the idea to build globally renowned players, we are just one-season old and we are taking small steps. This process is also organic, you can’t force someone to be an icon. We already have a few players, who have a decent following. Whenever these players are at the airport, people recognize them and walk up to them. These are slow steady progress due to this sport and things are going to evolve in the coming few years.

4. In the last 10 years, a lot of domestic sports have started, so how are these tournaments contributing to the Indian economy?

We are contributing immensely and if you see a whole industry is built around it. It is providing earning opportunities to different sections of people, first, there are the players, then comes the support staff, then the lightsmen, the media production crew, ground staff, marketing and PR professionals and so many people who work behind the scenes. Such competitions are providing livelihood to so many people and have a ripple effect across the sports ecosystem.

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