If you thought, nothing comes close to the madness of the FIFA World Cup, think again! Another biggest and the grandest football extravaganza is the UEFA Euro, a tournament with its celebrated memoirs and vibrant chronicles. While the coronavirus pandemic definitely has played spoilsport for all kinds of sports, June 2021 brings one of the world’s biggest football tournaments – the UEFA Euro 2020 for football fanatics, sports enthusiasts and for the ‘not so much into football’ side of the world as well. With the biggest names from the 24 participating countries like Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe, Ansu Fati, Paul Pogba, Bruno Fernandes, Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski, Joao Felix Luka Modric and Romelu Lukaku in action to achieve glory, it will surely be a treat to watch!
A pertinent question arising in the minds of many in India will the second half of 2021 will be a game changer for the sports world starting with UEFA Euro 2020 and will it prove to be a boon for the Indian advertisers and the audience? Mohit Joshi, CEO, Havas Media Group India optimistically says, “The second half of 2021 definitely looks more positive and hopeful with the line-up of international events such as UEFA Euro 2020, ICC T20 World Cup, 2021 French Open and Tokyo Olympics, offering a semblance of normalcy in the sporting world. On the advertising front, this could be a very good opportunity for brands that are heavily male oriented, for instance, brands in categories such as deodorants, automobiles, etc. However, a factor to consider is the timing of the matches in India. Most of the interesting matches including semi-finals & the finals are scheduled to start from 0030 Hrs IST, however, we have seen Indians watching TV and specially such matches till late and given the work from home, it could ease and support the viewership.” Nitin Kamat, CMO of TAM India is equally positive. “With vaccination drives across the globe & fans are returning to stadiums, sporting events are seeing the same zeal as pre-covid times. Brands are capitalizing on this opportunity to draw fan’s attention. With IPL pulled back, and major sporting events to look forward to, brands are looking for right properties to advertise. So yes, in terms of advertising and branding, the second half of 2021 will definitely be a game changer. Brands pull out all stops to make the most of tournaments like UEFA Euro. Football has its own set of passionate followers. Brands will definitely look at grabbing this opportunity to interact with fans across platforms”, says Kamat
“I surely think that UEFA Euro 2020 will be a boon for Indian advertisers & audiences alike as it has always been a popular event. Digital has gained maximum expectancy. Vaccinations and the recent dropping numbers will get the positivity back for India. I feel advertisers will more than welcome the Euro Cup because people are more indoors and looking for anything that’s new. OTTs have witnessed a huge pull, but the fact is that there is a paucity of fresh and new content. Euro cup being a month long event will find itself extremely relevant to not just football fans and followers but will also draw new ones in,” explains Sudhir Nair, Founder & CEO of 21N78E Creative Labs. A lot of media & advertising honchos are affirmative about the boost in advertising and things changing for good. Manish Porwal, MD of Alchemist Marketing & Talent Solutions is quite hopeful with the football fiesta. “I think top sports events like UEFA Euro always finds takers. Football is a sport gaining fast popularity in our cricket led nation amongst the urban youth who also happen to be the target audience to a lot of brands. One only hopes that the second half of the year, earmarked by UEFA Euro, now 2021, is going to be a game changer. There is a huge pent up demand for entertainment and sports events – both as viewers and spectators, and that would help the games quite a bit.”
While there are also some stalwarts who are a little sceptical with the way things are in India currently. Country Head & Managing Partner of Integrated Media for DDB Mudra Group, Rammohan Sundaram believes otherwise & is more pragmatic, “No I don’t think it will be a game changer if you are talking of India’s perspective. India is still not out of the woods and there is a big possibility of a third wave which means direct impact on C that will ensure advertising budgets are looked at more prudently and utilised in the best possible manner. I don’t think the numbers typically attract advertisers unless there are specific global associations with the event, which will mean their Indian counterparts will be present through FCTs. Other than that I doubt if advertisers will look at events such as these given the extra-ordinary number of global cricketing events that are scheduled in 2021. We also know that I-League and ISL has their following and the sports is picking pace in terms of adoption but until you have national heroes of the sport you won’t produce players who could show their mettle even if they were talented because the Indian Team still has some time to play in a Football World Cup event. The day that happens, which I am sure isn’t too far off, things will dramatically change in India.” Dhruv Jha, Head of Content for MediaBrands India also thinks on the same lines. “The situation is dicey and we need to wait and watch. There always has been a following for major world class events more so for the world cup. The big matches create excitement and draw interest of both advertisers and viewers. However, brands will be careful and there will be major negotiations and uncertainties.”
Melroy Dsouza, Chief Operation Officer of Madison India’s sports arm Professional Management Group is of the view that it will be a win-win situation for brands & audiences. “European Football has huge fan following with leagues in England, Spain and Italy being closely followed in India. With the top players from Europe playing in the tournament, the Euros will definitely have a distinct fan following in India. Traditionally, the Euros are also more competitive than the FIFA World Cup with teams being more equal in strength, making it better viewing. With there being lots of uncertainty around International sporting events due to the pandemic and there being no European football leagues played at that time, UEFA Euro 2020 will get advertisers interested. It will give them an opportunity to reach out to targeted audiences who follow football.” CEO of Madison Digital & Media Media Ultra Vishal Chinchankar shares views similar to Dsouza. “With the cases on a decline and the increase in vaccination we sure can hope for a much better 2nd half then the earlier half gone by in 2021. When it comes to football, the Euros are most popular after the FIFA World Cup, so it’s a good opportunity for brands to cash in on the viewership of the Euro 2020. There are many brands associated with football through the year and they will surely want to associate with the Euro 2020 as it’s a prestigious tournament and all countries would want to win. So one gets to see excellent football with many superstars of the game participating and representing their country.
Although, football is climbing up the ladder for the Indian sports enthusiasts, most of the media and advertising honchos agree with prudence that to further boost the popularity of football in India, training and development needs to rapidly increase from the grass root level. Also, the Indian football team needs to win international tournaments and quality for the FIFA World Cup. Many corporates are putting up facilities at world class level and backing potential talent as well. While the trade community and the advertising industry might have different opinions, it will surely be worth the wait as Sony Pictures Networks India Private Limited is all set to air the UEFA Euro 2020 live on its television channels and its OTT platform SonyLiv. The telecaster has been dribbling with FIFA World Cup 2018 and plans to score big with the UEFA Euro 2020.
Tags – UEFA Euro 2020, Euro 2020, Cristiano Ronaldo, Mbappe, Harry Kane, DDb Mudra, 21N78E, Havas, Madison, TAM, MediaBrands, Alchemist, Football, FIFA World Cup, Sony Pictures Network India, SonyLiv,