The projected ROI from BCCI sponsorship is extremely positive Raja Rajamannar, Mastercard


The global payments firm, Mastercard, has been actively involved in international sports through sponsorship agreements that range from tennis to soccer, and cricket , baseball to electronic sports.

Mastercard is currently seeking to ride the Indian sports boom to increase its reach in the country. Mastercard has recently wowed everyone when it replaced PayTM with BCCI’s Title Sponsor for international tournaments in India even though the agreement is for a period of six months. This means that Mastercard is now also the official sponsor of the entire domestic cricket events like Ranji Trophy, Irani Trophy, Duleep Trophy, as in junior cricket tournaments organized by the BCCI. BCCI

It is also the first time that Mastercard has been involved in Indian Cricket sponsorship even though legendary cricketer Mahendra Singh Dhoni has been the brand’s ambassador for a long time.

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In a chat with exchange4media Rajamannar discussed how sponsorship of sports is part of Mastercard’s bigger plans to build brand and growth in India and also what are his plans for marketing around the sponsorship agreement with BCCI. BCCI.


You have replaced PayTm as the primary sponsor for international games and domestic matches that are organized by BCCI. Why did you select cricket sponsorship and why you are doing it now?

Cricket is the second-largest sport worldwide in terms of the number of fans after soccer. Our goal is to explore areas and sports that people are interested in and curate and create experiences that are absolutely worth it for our customers as well as customers. We refer to it as “experiential marketing strategy”. Since 2013 when I was appointed the position of Chief Marketing Officer we’ve shifted our approach away from advertising-driven marketing and towards an experience-driven marketing plan. We have identified areas in which people are in love with music, sports film, philanthropy, fashion, sustainability, art and culture, and so on.

In all of these areas, we have started to acquire assets that allow us to design experiences for our customers that money can’t buy. The ocean of sports is vast, we are among the top golf sponsor and are also sponsoring the Australian as well as French Open Tennis. We are sponsoring soccer all over the globe including UEFA as well as women’s soccer. Lionel Messi is our brand ambassador.

Cricket is something we’ve been studying for quite a while. We’re very grateful that the chance came to be a part of us to the BCCI.

I was born in India and witnessed the passion of cricket that people had in the past. It’s wonderful to see the same passion and enthusiasm for cricket in the present. It makes great sense to be involved in cricket and we feel fortunate to be able to be a sponsor for these events.

What are your short-term and longer-term goals with this collaboration?

We’re determined to create Mastercard an established brand that people feel a connection. When we engage with our customers in an authentic way in a subject they’re enthusiastic about, they begin admiring it.

India is among the top countries for us and is truly amazing. The population of India is young, so the future of the planet is in India. There is no reason for any company to leave out India. Cricket is a major pastime in India. This is a chance for us to participate with us both. We are looking to create unique opportunities and experiences. Our own brand’s slogan can be described as “Connecting everyone to priceless opportunities”.

What ROI do you anticipate from this partnership, particularly because it’s only for six months only?

We’ve taken what’s available. We evaluate ROI in three ways First Is it improving branding in a quantifiable way? Then is it driving forward the business in the near future? In addition do you think it gives you an edge in the marketplace? These two questions are quantifiable. We haven’t yet started activation through our BCCI yet. So, whatever return on investment we’re estimating (with BCCI sponsorship) is highly positive and similar to our top assets in the world.

What is the best way to measure ROI if that the matches are spread out from local to international levels?

It isn’t simple. We have acquired numerous analytics companiesthat help us determine the return on investment and maximize our investment. In contrast to other brands, we have a distinct benefit – we are able to see the data in real-time. We can tell the areas where people spend their money. If the transactions are increasing within the town where the tournament is being held, but in other places, transactions are lower this is an appropriate way to determine the return on investment.

What are your strategies for marketing in relation to this deal? What are your plans to make this deal happen with BCCI?

Presently, we are at the stage of discussing ideas and local teams will be able to finalize all of the details shortly.

What are the touchpoints you’re viewing?

It’s a 360 degree campaign, with a wide range of contact points. It is our responsibility to select areas that meet our goals. We have a broad concept as of today. We are trying to finish the other details.

Mastercard has sponsored this year’s Delhi Golf Club Open. They have also signed golfers Shiv Kapur, and Anirban Lahiri to be brand ambassadors. What’s your approach to being a supporter of Indian golf, an elite sport with specific appeal to India?

You need different brushes for different strokes. We’re supporting badminton and golf to broaden our range of options and enhance our brand image in order to appeal to those who are enthusiastic about these games. Cricket is a part of the range of people. There is a need for mass appeal in cricket, however we should consider a more wealthy fan base of golf. We support hockey on ice across Canada while sailing New Zealand and so on to broaden our offerings.

Apart from golf and cricket You have recently joined forces with the badminton players Lakshya Sen Kidambi Srikanth, Satwiksairaj Rankireddy, and Chirag Shetty. What is the role of sports sponsorship in Mastercard’s overall strategy to grow and build brands in India?

We concentrate on the experiential approach to marketing and a methods that are based on passion. Indians are obsessed with music, sports and cinema. If you are doing something that is genuine as well as authentically in those fields people care about the brand, perceptions and ratings will increase. We’ve done this repeatedly and again in various countries.

When we began working on this plan in the year 2000, we were ranked at 87. Today, we are listed as 12 of the top brands across different industries. We’re occupying consumers their minds and hearts as we break through the noise and stand out as something that is meaningful. This strategy has served us well over the past 9-10 years.

Are sportspersons more trustworthy and convincing in comparison to other famous personalities such as movie stars when it comes to advertising the financial services?

If you study the psychology of consumer behavior, you’ll realize that people don’t just trust someone within the category they choose to endorse. They trust the individual, they trust their advice on any product or category.

Our brand has Hugh Jackman, an Australian film actor who is the brand’s ambassador. This is our most effective campaign to date. While he’s not a financial professional but he is a reputable celebrity. It is possible to multiply the effect in the event that a sportsperson or film celebrity is associated with a company, but at the simplest stage, everyone has their own reasons for believing in those individuals or the brand they support.

I asked this question since the majority the brand ambassadors you have in India are athletes.

There are Anil Kapoor as well as Sonam Kapoor as brand ambassadors. The late actor Irrfan Khan was also our ambassador.

Do you plan to get involved in Indian football?

We support football across the globe. If we find a chance that offers us a better ROI we will certainly go for it.

Indian sports have become an enormous source of ad revenue. Experts believe that sports advertising revenue could be as high as $1 billion, and could go upwards to $3 billion in the coming five years. What do you think is the best prediction?

Following the pandemic, there has been a lot of efforts to organize live events. Many are returning to these occasions. Organisers of sports are thinking about ways to return their earnings to pre-Covid value. The public is committing more hours to sports on television. Advertisers want to get in touch with those viewers. This trend is expected to continue. However there are global issues, such as inflation, the war between Russia and Ukraine and the possibility of another outbreak from the pandemic. But the overall trend is positive in India as well as around the globe. TV and media companies will likely benefit from this growth.

Are you in search of additional sponsorship opportunities in Indian cricket?

Sponsorship is only one method to communicate and connect with your customers. There are many other ways to interact with them, and this is not just through sponsorship. If you are looking for the right occasion, we’re always available.

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