Global Sports Commerce (GSC) & ITW Consulting: Reshaping The Indian Sports Industry

CIO Vendor In today’s day and age, the evolution of digital innovation has led to a myriad of applications and strategic alliances between sports and technology. Sport is an emotion and an integral part of an Indian's DNA and given the dynamics of a country so young, it has only begun to harness the potential of this market. The road ahead beckons India to become the next sports super power. India is diversifying from the vast cricket sports market to include sports like Wrestling, Kabaddi, Badminton, Volleyball and so on. The headway made by these non-commercial sports by gaining the stature of leagues manifests the very fact that the fans in India are willing to embrace multi-layered sportstainment. An industry with significant scope for growth demands for a powerful engagement strategy in an attempt to satisfy its audience. With various advancing technologies creating intelligent tools and resources, consumers have evolved, demanding convenience and instant gratification while simultaneously insisting on unique, meaningful, and interactive experiences.

However, one is in dire need of experts who understand the market requirements and have the ability to harness the power of advancing technologies to fulfil these demands. “The paramount constituent out of various client expectations has to be the fan or fan engagement, which comes through various layers of commerce like ticketing, content consumption, viewership and so on; with the ultimate goal being to derive an optimal value from the fan, for it is them who set the path for the brands to follow. In addition to this, the ability to continually produce forefront technology complemented by a seamless solutions and services tops the list,” says M S Muralidharan, CEO at Global Sports Commerce.

Playing the right cards in this highly competitive industry is Sports Technology and Management giant, Global Sports Commerce, headquartered in Singapore, with a strong focus on two key components - the fan and the brands, within the increasingly flourishing sports industry with its three core offerings that have been categorized into three channels: solutions, sponsorships and services.

LED signage technology solutions, deep data analysis, fan engagement and solutions, content and creation, IOT and in-venue fan connectivity solutions, brand measurement, campaign measurement, sales and activations, media rights, strategic consulting, and client management are some of the offerings that GSC facilitates its clients with using a deep talent pool of 1000 professionals working on a gamut of highly advanced technologies. “We have relentlessly put in an effort to offer cutting-edge technology solutions augmented by top professional experience from all over the globe, whose faculties in the realm of global sports has helped in enhancing the commercial value for the sports bodies and entities,” informs M S Muralidharan. With regards to on field performance, the company has designed and developed a comprehensive portfolio of analytical tools which when leveraged can help with player performance and team selection. In fact, Nanoyotta Technologies, one of the company’s subsidiaries and an AI-focused technology and analytical firm specialising in the Big Data, Machine/Deep Learning and computer vision domain, developed the analytical tools MAPLYTIKS, SOCIALYTIKS and GEOLYTIKS that are aimed at transforming the legacy sponsorship commerce structure.


With the help of ITW, GSC has created a global presence and in-depth understanding of international sports and media market in the sectors of sponsorship, activation and event management


SERVICING A PLETHORA OF GLOBAL SPORTS STAKEHOLDERS
Carving a niche for itself in this domain, the company has worked alongside leading global sports stakeholders comprising sports bodies, leagues, rights holders, stadiums and brands. This is achieved through its 13 subsidiary companies with offices located in 16 cities, geographically dispersed across 10 countries. Some of the well renowned organizations in sports that GSC has catered to through its various subsidiaries are FIFA, UEFA, IAAF, ICC, BBCI, EPL, IPL, Bundesliga, IPL, AFL and the likes. Having previously worked with these organizations, GSC has quite a few interesting projects in the pipeline with a few of these organizations in the near future. Additionally, the company will be leading the IAAF world championship which will be held in Doha. Previously managed by a meagre 6 strength team almost two decades ago, GSC is now over 1000 employees strong by having nurtured worldwide talent through a very proactive and organic approach.

GSC ENABLING ITW TO BRIDGE THE GAP BETWEEN SPORTS ADVERTISEMENT AND TECHNOLOGY
Having worked with a large customer base over the years has helped GSC attain a complete in-depth understanding of international sports and media market in the sectors of sponsorship, activation and event management. ITW Consulting Pvt. Ltd., one of Asia’s leading consulting and management companies, is one of the subsidiaries that have made this a reality.
“With the help of ITW, GSC has created a global presence and in-depth understanding of international sports and media market in the sectors of sponsorship, activation and event management,” affirms M S Muralidharan. “Our partnership with GSC has enabled us to take our core expertise of providing new ideas of monetisation, on ground services, branding and merge them with technology to increase the value proposition of the total offering,” adds Bhairav Shanth, Co-Founder and Managing Director at ITW Consulting.

The company plays a major role in redefining the way brands associate themselves with sports. Its area of expertise lies in On-ground and In-Stadia branding and activations with customized solutions revolving around event operations, accreditations, hospitality, customized solutions, and consumer activation setups, ensuring maximum visibility. One of the key roles ITW plays in the sports industry is that of a consultant at the service of brands to help them leverage its licences in acquiring the perfect fit for its brand image and attaining the license itself while simultaneously cultivating ways to set the new revenue streams in motion. “It’s our responsibility to use the sports brand in a way that reflects favourably on the licensor. Our objective is to maximize the marketing benefit from the association with a well-known sports brand,” informs Bhairav.

The company has gained a strong foothold in the cricket sector, having received the most response from this sector over the last decade as most Indians are passionate about cricket. It was in this segment that Micromax, a major Indian consumer electronics company, signed up as the Title Sponsor for the Asia Cup 2012, which was held in Bangladesh, through ITW. It was noted as one of the first massive campaigns for Micromax into the world of cricket. It was at this tournament that the team at ITW executed a successful brand activation where in Micromax’s new logo was launched, scaling up the brand’s recognition in the market. The team developed various forms of instadia branding such as perimeter boards, pitch mats, sight screen, wickets, giant digital display and so on. This got the client a total air-time visibility of 22,349 seconds (on Neo Cricket) that was equivalent to media worth Rs. 53.63 Crores. “We did not just introduce the tenth largest smartphone vendor to the cricketing world of branding and sponsorships; we also helped the brand further realize the value of this investment by creating the right fitment and communication with the target audience to continued activations and took them to become the largest seller of smartphone in India at its peak,” says Bhairav.

Making equally huge strides in this domain is ITW Mediaworx, a Sports Media Agency and an arm of ITW Consulting, as it represented OPPO (OPPO Mobiles Private Limited) and BYJU’s (Think and Learn Private Limited) with its end-to-end consultation services for the transfer of rights of the extremely distinguished Indian Cricket Team Jersey sponsorship. In fact, BYJU’s was unveiled as the new Team India Sponsor by BCCI.

ENSURING HIGH LEVEL OF REVENUE GENERATION
Associated with GSC for over a decade, ITW specializes in crafting and executing multifaceted brand management solutions across sports entertainment and media for its clients globally which helps build stronger brand visibility, awareness and recall amongst a wider audience. One of the primary services extended by the team is assistance in developing franchises and sporting entities resulting in longterm revenue generation for investors and promoters as sport franchises are valued on their revenues. Bhairav explains to us that the success of an ownership of a sports team is based on five factors which are Internal Governance Standards / Ownership Credibility, Team Brand Identity or persona, On Field Performance, Fan outreach and Revenue generation via Sponsorship Sales.

The team at ITW ceaselessly works towards accomplishing the set goals by working closely with the teams and put in place certain governance standards and ethical practices for the management. The company then works towards revamping what the team stands for in terms of the team logo design, anthem, presentation of the players, social media presence and so on. ITW also looks at grass root development programs and CSR as a means to connect the team with the larger community.

"Associated with GSC for over a decade, ITW specializes in crafting and executing multifaceted brand management solutions across sports entertainment and media for its clients globally"

Fans play a critical role in the success of any sport. Keeping this in mind, ITW assists teams engage with fans in a more meaningful way and try to create a true fan base on which the team is built. This could include digital outreach to a more responsive team, web site to fan reward programs and so on, depending on the team requirement and suitability. Lastly, ITW takes it upon itself to represent teams and reach out to brands across the globe for sponsorships in order to generate the revenue intended. The team helps develop sponsor programs and enter into multiyear contracts, making it a complete win-win.

In the span of eleven years and having grown to a team of 200 industry experts working across all metros and managing the business across UAE, UK, Caribbean, Australia and Bangladesh, the company envisions making even more headway in this dynamic industry with its combination of technologically advanced solutions and services, the right business acumen and its team of skilled experts. Bhairav signs off as he reveals ITW’s future plans, “With respect to upcoming projects, ITW is the rights holder for the India-West Indies series post the cricket World Cup and which is happening in part in the US and in the Caribbean Islands. MyTeam11, one of the country’s premier fantasy sport platform has been roped in as a Title Sponsor & brands such as Skoda India & Xiaomi”

GSC as a whole envisages continuing to innovate and make its contributions to this progressing industry through its company and its subsidiaries.