The 17th season of the Indian Premier League (IPL) is set to commence on Friday, March 22, 2024, promising to further leverage mobile technology and redefine sports consumption in India. Since its 2008 inception, the IPL’s transformation into a cultural phenomenon is underscored by its US$11.2 billion valuation by the end of 2023, surpassing the English Premier League’s (EPL) US$9 billion. To really understand the IPL is to understand the pulse of India—a diverse nation united by its love for cricket.

As the 16th edition of the IPL captivated the nation, it also highlighted the evolving landscape of mobile marketing, mobile OEM advertising, and digital viewership trends, setting a new benchmark for future sporting events. Let’s also take a moment to look back at IPL 2023, a mobile and digital spectacle that has set the stage for what promises to be an even more innovative and engaging season.


Revolutionizing IPL and Sports Marketing: Embracing Mobile-First Sports Consumption


A Look Back at IPL 2023: A Showcase of Mobile Innovation and Digital Engagement


The IPL isn’t just a cricket league; it’s a cultural phenomenon uniting millions worldwide. The 2023 season, culminating in a thrilling final where the Chennai Super Kings emerged victorious, transcended mere cricket — it was an immersive experience. With 1.47 billion views on its opening weekend, over 16 billion views by the second qualifier, and a staggering 32 million live viewership for the final match on the JioCinema app, the IPL showcased the growing preference for mobile app sports streaming, marking significant year-over-year growth in digital consumption.


Moreover, 61% of viewers watched matches on their mobile devices, highlighting the dominance of smartphones in IPL consumption. Digital ad revenue surged by 33% to Rs 20 billion, over US$241 million in 2023, driven by the convenience and accessibility of mobile apps. This trend was further fueled by content proliferation across mobile OEM platforms like Xiaomi, OnePlus, Oppo, Vivo, and Huawei, deepening deeper engagement with IPL content.


The Rise and Rise of Mobile-First Sports Consumption

In 2024, significant sporting events like the IPL, Euro 2024, and the Paris Olympic Games present substantial opportunities for mobile app marketers. During IPL 2023, about 70% of viewers engaged with their smartphones for various activities, such as checking match updates, participating in online discussions, ordering food, playing fantasy cricket, and exploring promotions. This underscores the strong link between sports fans and mobile apps, providing ample opportunities for targeted advertising.

The surge in app downloads during the tournament, especially in categories like food delivery and eCommerce, with increases of 63% and 54% respectively, highlights the influence of major sports events on consumer behavior. Mobile OEM advertising offers a cost-effective and fraud-free channel for marketers to boost app downloads and user engagement. With a growing emphasis on interactive elements in both sports and advertising, mobile OEMs are positioned to drive the evolution of mobile-first sports consumption.


Mobile OEMs: New Strategies for Heightened Engagement

With numerous options mobile OEMs provide, advertisers can employ diverse strategies for enhanced effectiveness. Full-screen videos, splash ads, and appographic marketing in display ads offer personalized campaigns. Dynamic Preloads utilize OEMs’ app recommendations for effective user acquisition. Leveraging Private Marketplace (PMP) deals and Dynamic Preloads during key sports events provides additional acquisition channels without excessive costs.


The barrier to entry for advertisers and users toward mobile OEM advertising and IPL consumption is at an all-time low. JioCinema offers free IPL access via its app, contrasting with previous paid options from Hotstar, charging up to Rs 1499 or US$18 for an IPL viewing package. This strategy quadrupled JioCinema’s app penetration, providing advertisers with a vast audience. With affordable mobile OEM advertising, now is the perfect time to leverage both mobile OEMs and the IPL.


Strategic sponsorships by mobile OEMs, such as Vivo’s with the FIFA World Cup 2022 and the IPL from 2016 to 2021, and OPPO’s with the ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup, UEFA Champions League, and Wimbledon, highlight the growing ties between sports and mobile tech. These partnerships enhance brand visibility and offer unique opportunities for mobile marketers during major events. Additionally, they drive increased mobile OEM hardware sales, providing further incentives for app developers to leverage mobile OEMs’ position in the global sporting landscape.


Knocking it Out of the Park: A New Era of Mobile Sports Marketing and Consumption


The merging of sports, mobile technology, and advertising heralds a new era in sports marketing, where digital experiences rival physical ones in enrichment. IPL 2023’s success in leveraging mobile platforms for enhanced viewership sets a precedent for future events, offering insights into consumer behavior.


As IPL 17 unfolds and Euro 2024 looms on the horizon, the strategies employed during IPL 2023 offer a roadmap for harnessing mobile OEM advertising and app marketing to captivate sports enthusiasts. Targeted, innovative, and interactive campaigns, coupled with strategic mobile technology deployment, have the potential to elevate user acquisition, engagement, and brand loyalty.


The evolving landscape of sports consumption, propelled by the symbiotic relationship between cricket, mobile tech, and advertising, presents an alluring frontier for marketers. By embracing these evolving trends and catering to digital consumer preferences, brands can not only maintain a competitive edge but also cultivate enduring connections, redefining sports experiences in the digital era.


The IPL isn’t just big; it’s massive. And in the world’s second-largest mobile market, that presents an unmissable opportunity for mobile marketers everywhere. Don’t miss out on leveraging this opportunity with mobile OEM advertising. Contact AVOW today to elevate your app presence in the global sporting landscape.