The Super Bowl is a spectacle.
Arguably the world’s biggest sporting event, the flagship event of the NFL is a heady cocktail of sport, entertainment, and money. The event is such a massive, immovable fixture from the calendars of most Americans that it can take media coverage for granted.
I mean let’s face it. This is an event which generates $12.3 billion in merchandise sales – that’s $69 per consumer. It was broadcast in over 30 languages across 180 countries; CBS charged a whopping $3.8 million for 30 second ad spots; the Super Bowl has been estimated to have an economic impact of $434 million in its host city of New Orleans.
Whew. And let’s not forget the beer. While watching the Baltimore Ravens defeat the San Francisco 49ers, Americans consumed an estimated 50 million cases of beer.
While Super Bowl coverage will undoubtedly dominate all media coverage every year, the success of the event, in part, is backed by a knowledge of the importance of effectively interfacing with the media.
Every year, in a tradition almost as strong as the main event itself, the designated Super Bowl field hosts a Media Day – a wild, sometimes eccentric press conference on steroids.
The Indian Premier League is, in many ways, reminiscent of the Super Bowl in terms of a focus on entertainment and grandeur. This is what it can learn from the Super Bowl Media
What is the Super Bowl Media Day?
A carnival of the surreal, described by the New York Times as “art imitating art imitating art.” Beyond the “reporters” in elaborate costumes and Miss America wandering around, it is essentially an opportunity for reporters to meet and quiz the players and coaches of the two teams just before game day. The event is held on the same venue as the Super Bowl – on the field itself – and, as you would expect with this multi-billion dollar event, there are thousands of fans who pay $25 a head to watch journalists interview the players.
What the IPL can learn from it
1. Treat Journalists as Fans – At the core, most sports journalists are ardent fans. Allowing them to mingle freely with the players is not just about access, it is about creating a bank of goodwill and a positive, fun experience that they can share with their readers.
2. Individual Brands Grow the Mother Brand – Most IPL interviews are limited to club captains or coaches. Allowing more players to interact with the media in such an environment not only lets them build their own personal brands, it will also add to the value and interest in Brand IPL.
3. Go Big, Go Wild – By this point, the organizers of the IPL know the value of entertainment – of every Shahrukh wave and cheerleader dance routine. Creating a fest-like event with great giveaways, wacky characters, and high production costs only adds value to the perceived scale of the game.
4. Don’t Take It Too Seriously – Okay, it’s just a sport. On which billions are spent alongside an orgy of consumption and consumerism. It’s easy to alienate people when the spectacle grows too big, but the flavor of the Media Day is lightly tongue-in-cheek. For every serious journalist asking about collision head injuries, you have a warrior poet (dressed in the entire garb) asking the players “zen riddles.”
5. It’s All About Access – Get the players as close to the journalists so that they can all walk away satisfied in the amount of time they got. Brief the players about patience, because they will get the same question dozens of times.
6. Grow the Media Map – The IPL, like the Super Bowl, is not just about sport. The IPL should more aggressively court non mainstream and sporting media to the IPL party. Even if that means the equivalent of having Access Hollywood, TMZ, and Entertainment Tonight asking the players about bling, rap music, and the Kardashians.
Written by Kunal Pal for Image Management