Siddhartha Mukherjee: PR playing cupid for Sports TV Channels and Associations!

08 Jul,2016

By Siddhartha Mukherjee


Remember FIFA 2006? Indians were swept off their feet! Our TV viewing behaviour underwent a drastic change. A predominantly cricketing nation gave the ongoing India-West Indies cricket series telecast a miss to soak into the encore of FIFA. Despite late night telecasts, TV viewership numbers of FIFA soared while that of cricket choked.


We were reading more about international football stars than those from the world of cricket. When morning newspapers and TV channels started featuring Kaka and his girlfriend, that was the sign that PR had cracked the case and was on its way to successfully launch FIFA into the hearts of Indian men, women and children. What more could a TV Telecast partner have asked for!


Cut to the current year, 2016. Cricket, Football, Kabaddi, Basketball, Badminton, Tennis, and many other sporting forms are all fighting to strike a chord with the Indian TV viewer. Advertisements and promotions are expensive and therefore forces limitations with PR communication frequency, spread, formats and messaging combinations. Here is where Public Relations comes to the rescue!


Why does Public Relations score over other Communication tools:

:: Allows a leisure spread PR exposure for Pre-During-Post event: Consumption or Footfalls into Sporting events on TV or in stadiums means giving consumers the time to decide and a reason for engagement. While creation of emotion is key, the event brand’s exposure or OTS (Opportunity to see) should be maximum or as much in advance as possible. PR allows the Sports TV Telecaster to spread the PR Plan weeks or months prior to the start of the event. A sound build up will lead into a sound foot fall starting the day of the event. Reflecting back on FIFA 2006, the pre-PR buzz (buzz created before the start of the event was 4 times more than that of the India-West Indies cricket series.


:: Allows to experiment with various Messaging or Edit Formats: To engage with a sporting event, emotion is key. For this, one has to experiment and push out various permutations of messaging formats – through one-on-one interviews, columns, Photo captions, contributory articles, news briefs and write ups that have recency, and so on. PR allows this flexibility very well.


:: Localised PR push will fetch Localized pull: The cost parameter restricts the penetration of Ad or Promo led communications deep into the local heartland. PR makes that easy. The localization of exposure and messaging is key that will create interest levels for local consumers – whether on TV or in stadiums.


If you see the PR success scores in terms of what it has done to the ongoing Kabaddi tournament on TV currently, it is quite gratifying:- Increased media ink for Kabaddi as a sport with an average of 30% jump in PR scores per season

– Number of media titles covering the sport increased by 50%

– News on the event were not only restricted to the tournament, but also focused on the softer aspects of the Game and Players that got consumers interested to watch the telecast!


PR has started playing cupid for the various Sports Associations and the TV Broadcaster! The ROI it brings for both the stakeholders has been very satisfying. Time will come when PR is no longer looked at as one of the IMC contributors but a pivotal one.


Time to take a bow for all the PR Agencies and the Corporate Communication professionals who are working tirelessly to sustain the momentum of various sporting events round the year!


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