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Exclusive: It’s the dream of any sports company to be involved with the IPL – Sangeet Shirodkar, Co-Founder and CEO of 27th Sports

Shirodkar went on to unveil some intriguing insights into the booming sports marketing sector.

27th Sports, backed by the investment firm, 27th Investments, has had a wonderful year as it managed to acquire commercial mandates for some of the exciting sports competitions.

27th Sports, which focuses on emerging markets and sports such as cricket, golf and more, bagged mandates for the recently concluded India tour of Bangladesh 2022, the Road Safety World Series and the AVR Pay Cup (A three-match bilateral series between India and Sri Lanka Women). In November 2022, the Dubai-based company also acquired the World Tennis League outfit, The Hawks.

SportsMint Media got in touch with the Co-Founder and CEO of 27th Sports, Mr Sangeet Shirodkar, who shed some light on several different things from the process of acquiring a marketing mandate to the role of technology in the growth of different sports. Shirodkar also went on to unveil some intriguing insights into the booming sports marketing sector.

1. How different and difficult is the entire process of acquiring a marketing mandate for a domestic competition and an international series?

It depends on the member board and their processes and structure. Most member national boards or domestic boards have a validated global tender process.

Each of those processes runs for several months. Have high qualification criteria and financial guarantees. It’s hugely competent.

2. Does a cricket competition/bilateral series comprising a women’s team attract a similar kind of interest from brands just as the men’s cricket team?

In my opinion- Women’s cricket is the fastest-growing genre in India today for the last 5 years. There has been a lot of sweat and hard work by a lot of people which has gotten it to where it is heading today. If we see the BCCI’s indicative numbers for the women’s IPL Franchise. It’s almost at par with where IPL began in 2008.

This decade is of women’s sports worldwide. The success of UEFA, rebranding of the Fed Cup. The announcement of the FIFA women’s World Cup is testimony to that. But mostly so far we have seen rivals of men’s sport sponsors sort of using women’s sports to hedge the opportunity. But we have experienced some interest from hard-core GEC spenders in women’s cricket. Women’s cricket could be the real alternative for core GEC advertisers who have found planning tough with the fragmentation of audience between TV and digital.

3. Does a competition consisting of highly popular sportspersons like Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma help the company to sign some renowned brands for the series?

Having names always helps. But Indian cricket is powerful to survive and attract brands all the time.

4. With cricket acquiring a lion’s share in the sports marketing industry where do others sports in India stand in that sector?

Other sports are growing well and are certain that growth will be further as more technology evolves. We are in a unique time where the usage of artificial intelligence in production and ops will helps reduce costs by at least 5 times for helping more sports go on the screen- and screen today is not just the limited opportunity of 3 to 4 sports broadcasters. Digital viewing is growing and reaching a larger mass in a cost-effective way with good packaging is possible today.

5. How the acquisition of The Hawks from the World Tennis League has helped 27th Sports’ expansion in tennis?

27th Investments as a group is focused to be a key player in the world of sports and entertainment and Tennis is among the most popular sports in the world.

6. As the Sports Marketing sector is booming, what factors are taken into consideration while investing in sports start-ups?

We see multiple factors 1) At what stage the game is at 2) What’s the potential growth curve it has to achieve 3) How can we help that growth curve with our team’s experience and funds and how fast it can turn around? 4) The possible acceptability of the IP from fans and its target audience.

7. Following the announcement of the $100 million sports fund, what progress has been made in diversifying and enhancing the sports commercial rights portfolio?

We have had a great few months. Working with 2 full member boards- Sri Lanka Cricket and Bangladesh Cricket Board for men’s and women’s bi-lateral featuring team India. Plus Road Safety World Series, Legends Football featuring Manchester United Masters and Leicester City Legends, and has been part of the World Tennis League.

8. Is 27th Sports eyeing the upcoming Indian Premier League 2023?

It’s the dream of any sports company to be involved with the IPL. Personally, I was lucky to have been involved and closely worked with the IPL ecosystem right from season 1. Hopefully, as 27th Sports is a young company we will get able to work in a fair capacity with IPL in the future years.

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