By Chandradev Bhagat, CEO - Greymatter Entertainment, writing from Colombo
Someone once told me that if content is king then distribution is King-Kong! This rings true, especially in today’s day and age, when consumption of content is sliced and diced across various conventional as well as experimental platforms.
While coverage of sports is pushing the envelope with High Definition and digital surround sound, consumption of sports is moving from HD TVs to web streaming to smart hand-phones. The equation is simple - the younger the viewer the more challenging it is to first attract and then hold on to his or her attention.
The Sri Lanka Premier League has adopted a high-octave marketing plan, and one has to commend the members of the Sri Lanka Cricket board and its marketing partners SEV on a job well done.
When you step out of the aircraft in Colombo, the walkways scream out SLPL in bright yellow. A cab-ride around the city and one finds hoardings of Shahid Afridi in animated action along with life-size cut outs of Kumar Sangakkara and TM Dilshan. Live streaming is available on You-Tube and that’s a big boon for fans of Sri Lanka cricket sprinkled all across the world.
That said, one firmly believes in a fundamental truth - a spectator sport can't be built and sustained without spectators! The success of sports brand like the NFL, NBA and ELP have their foundation in stadiums filled to capacity in every single game.
Drawing crowds into cricket stadiums has been a challenge in Sri Lanka but the other day, at the Pallekele Stadium in Kandy, we got more than a fair indication of the drawing power of the Sri Lanka Premier League.
On a Monday, the stadium was filled to capacity with fans going mad. The atmosphere was electric, and to suit the occasion, Sri Lanka’s premier artist with the bat, a certain Mahela Jayawardane, splashed his best colors on the green canvas. The match went down to the wire, and one has to say that this was one of the best turnouts one had ever witnessed on a cricket ground in Sri Lanka. It reminded us that there are few things more exciting in sport than a full house crowd having a great day out with sublime skills on display, and a close finish. I have no doubt that every single person that came out to the match and experienced that atmosphere, would be an advert to spread the word to several others around and draw them into the stands.
So, here’s the picture: a country out of the clutches of war, ready to hold on to positive energy and leap into its next stage of growth. Here’s a sport that is a genuine aspiration amongst the youth. Add a tourism destination that attracts cricket travelers in the thousands every year -- from as far out as Australia and England. Throw in an exciting new T-20 format that’s supplying fresh cricket excitement. Spin the Twitter handles, the Facebook pictures, live streaming and instant updates around it.
Still early days, but it might not be too long before the Sri Lanka Premier League becomes another reason for tourists that love cricket to mark their annual calendars and pack their bags to make a pleasant trip to Sri Lanka in the month of August.
Here’s another potential case study of content being king and being distributed across the world with the right bells and whistles to be built into King-Kong!
Authored by: Chandradev Bhagat, Founder & CEO of Greymatter Entertainment, is a young media veteran with nearly 18 years’ experience of delivering large-scale, high-value productions and creative solutions across various continents. He says he believes he is stricken by an OCD for chasing new ideas and finding exciting ways of delivering content solutions in sports and entertainment.