Sportainment: Making Brands Sound through Sports

Navneet Ganapathi,Managing Partner

Navneet Ganapathi

Managing Partner

Ideating new marketing and advertising strategies in the sports world paved way for some breakthrough innovations in brand display and promotions. Sportainment based out of Chennai assists brands to connect with their target audience through sports. The company combines research and experience to offer brands with suitable partnerships.

Navneet Ganapathi, Managing Partner of Sportainment started his career in sports marketing back in 2007, while he was associated with ESPN Starsports. Prior to the start of season two of the IPL in 2009 he was brought on board by Delhi Daredevils and was part of the key marketing team entrusted to handle sponsorship sales, sponsor servicing including player appearances for clients and started the fan club.

Navneet worked on many areas during both IPL 2009 (South Africa) & 2010 apart from the Champions League T20. During this period he had the opportunity to work closely with brands like Hero, Idea, Panasonic, Muthoot group, CocaCola and Adidas.

Although Cricket and IPL are core to the business right from its inception, Navneet's broader vision led him to execute India s first ever Squash world cup back in 2011. With regards to the IPL, he has worked with six teams over the last decade roping in sponsorships and licensing partnership associations with brands like TI Cycles, Mansion, Tata Motors, Godrej, Videocon, Kingfisher, Gulf oil, Khadims, Officers choice,
Cricfig etc. Sportainment also worked closely on Dhoni's biopic where they roped in Dhoni and Sushant Singh Rajput for a TV commercial. In the recent past Sportainment have also worked closely with BFC and FC Goa in the ISL, delivering sponsorship associations for them. During the previous India tour of Australia, Sportainment worked closely with Cricket Australia on instadia advertising.

Brand associations are often displayed through uniform association, perimeter board, meet-and-greets, or through social media in terms of marketing campaigns with teams. Sportainment has also worked closely with a few Indian and International cricket stars with likes of Virender Sehwag with a spectacle lens maker, Suresh Raina for a social media campaign with a digital wallet, R Ashwin (pain relief), Dinesh Karthik (footwear) and David Warner for his Bangladesh Premier League captaincy contract. Navneet was also part of a 25 member Indian delegation for a global soccer conference in Manchester in 2013 and has since explored possibilities for brands in India to evaluate regional partnerships with EPL clubs.

Sportainment transcends technological aids for unveiling new marketing techniques

In 2017 Sportainment won gold at the prestigious SPIA Asia Awards for best sponsorship for a team sport or event <250k USD category. Last year, Sportainment also facilitated a celebrity endorsement partnership with a footwear retail brand and Bollywood stars - Farhan Akthar and Kangana Ranaut.

Brands leverage sports associations through media spend and consumer gratification promotions either through giving away signed memorabilia or creating a unique atmosphere. "Mall activations through virtual cricket and experiences like cricketers interacting with lucky ones at a mall bring about money can't buy experiences” says Navneet, Managing Partner, Sportainment.

The key to being relevant and successful in this industry is to find the balance between aligning the brand objectives with sports or the sport celebrities acting as the bridge.

Sportainment transcends technological aids for unveiling new marketing techniques. The company is working with a licensing company who are in the manufacturing space for creating bobble heads of IPL players. By putting a chip or a QR code for scanning, can power augmented reality through the bobble head.

Sportainment's growth plans also includes working with overseas brands looking for an Indian entry and an association in sports or Indian brands looking at going global with association in Football or Motorsport for example.