Home >Industry >Advertising >Mobile Premier League bets on advertising to create niche in e-sports market

NEW DELHI : Mobile Premier League, the real money gaming service, is forging multiple strategic sponsorships and marketing partnerships to create a niche in the cluttered e-sports market in India.

Sai Srinivas and Shubh Malhotra, who earlier co-founded mobile startup Creo that was acquired by Hike messenger, launched Mobile Premier League in (MPL) in 2018. Flushed with $40.5 million worth of funds from Sequoia, Go Ventures, Times Internet and others, MPL has picked up team sponsorship of two Indian Premier League (IPL) teams this year Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kolkata Knight Riders. It also plans to advertise during IPL.

MPL is endorsed by cricketer Virat Kohli. The platform has recently replaced Chinese smartphone maker Vivo as reality show Big Boss' presenting sponsor for user acquisition.

“Ours is a multi-pronged approach --- advertising is to increase brand awareness and take it to more and more people, and sports sponsorships also serve a similar goal. Together with our TV and digital ads, we hope this will create a good recall value about MPL," said Sai Srinivas, co-founder and CEO, MPL.

These spends are in line with the growth of online gaming in India which is estimated to touch 87.8 billion in FY20 with a compounded growth rate of 32% between FY19-24 according to a KPMG report and MPL wants to make a dent in the space.

With over 60 games and 6 crore users, MPL combines content and gaming titles from casual games such as Rummy and Ludo to fantasy gaming in cricket and football.

“One of the attributes behind MPL's success in the online skill gaming sector is the variety of games offered by the platform that ranges from fantasy sports to e-sports," said Roland Landers, chief executive, All India Gaming Federation (AIGF).

The platform claims that it has witnessed 3x-4x growth from pre-covid times up till now with its diverse user base of working professionals, homemakers, students and retired senior citizens.

“In fact, one of the winners of our #CheckmateCovid Chess tournament, which we organised with the Government of Karnataka, was aged above 60 years," said Srinivas.

MPL’s popularity can be attributed to its simple and easy to use design and features such as unlimited and instant withdrawals and a simple KYC process. The company just introduced 99 ticket for the upcoming IPL T20 season, where users just need to buy it once and can play fantasy for free for all matches.

“We have over 6 crore users in just two years and to be able to do this while being outside of the Playstore is unprecedented," said Srinivas.

However, the biggest challenge for MPL remains to differentiate itself from competitors such as My11Circle,, and RummyCircle that have also been actively advertising.

According to Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media, a Mumbai-based marketing and communication agency it’s a tough fight for the number two spot as multiple gaming platforms are desperately trying to be seen beyond Dream11.

“However, differentiation between such platforms is quite negligible as most of them have celebrity endorsers Paytm First Games (Sachin Tendulkar), My11Circle (Sourav Ganguly) and Win Trade Fantasy (WTF) Sports (Suresh Raina and Harmanpreet Kaur) with a similar kind of brand positioning and product platform," he added.

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