iGaming Operators Target Indian Players With Celebrity Push
The iGaming market in India has exploded in the last couple of years as several operators have launched multiple gaming services to appeal to what could soon be one of the most lucrative gaming markets in Asia.
The competition to capture market share continues to increase with every passing month. iGaming operators have not only had to increase their ad spend heavily but have also had to look for innovative marketing strategies to stand out from their competition.
iGaming Operators Deploying Celebrities
The current trend with the top iGaming operators is to get celebrities and sports stars back their brands. This is not a new marketing campaign as some of the biggest iGaming brands have deployed such strategies but did not experience much success.
A perfect example of this is PokerStars. A few years ago, the number one online poker site in the world hired some of the world’s biggest sports stars, such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Neymar Jr., Usain Bolt, and Rafael Nadal.
They even brought Hollywood star Kevin Hart on board to help boost their brand image and reach a wider market audience. The strategy did not work as intended, and PokerStars let go of all these famous names and abandoned this approach.
iGaming operators targeting the Indian market believe this approach will work much better in India because celebrities and top sports stars have a cult-like status in the country. This is why some of the top brands have roped in some of the biggest sports stars in India, and some have also relied on international celebrity appeal.
Celebrities And Sports stars That Have Been Signed
Virat Kohli: The Mobile Premier League (MPL) is one of the biggest mobile gaming platforms in India and has witnessed a massive spike in traffic during the last 5 months when the country has been in lockdown. The MPL has secured the services of Virat Kohli, the captain of the Indian cricket team.
Kohli is arguably the biggest sports star in India and has a massive fan following. He has over 73 million followers on Instagram, and the majority of them are young Indians. MPL signed Kohli in 2019 and extended his sponsorship contract once again in Jan 2020.
MS Dhoni: loyal MS Dhoni fans will argue that Dhoni is still the biggest sports star in India. The former Indian captain continues to enjoy cult fame across India as fans widely regard him as the best captain India has ever produced. PokerStars India decided to sign MS Dhoni as their main brand ambassador in India.
The signing is critical to PokerStars India as the brand looks to establish itself amongst other poker operators like Adda52, who already have a strong position in the Indian market.
Suresh Raina And H Kaur: WTF Sports decided that they needed not just one but two cricketers to boost their brand image. They signed Suresh Raina, who has played for India on many occasions and is also a mainstay at the IPL franchise Chennai Super Kings. They also signed the Indian women’s team T20 captain in Harmanpreet Kaur.
WTF offers a wide range of fantasy sports, and cricket continues to be its most popular offering. By signing both Raina and Kaur, WTF is looking to appeal to both male and female audiences across India.
Dan Bilzerian: is known as the Instagram King as he has a following of over 32 million on Instagram from all around the world. Bilzerian claims he is a high stakes poker pro who has won millions playing invite-only games. However, he is best known for being surrounded by beautiful and scantily clad women, shooting guns, and jetting around to some of the most beautiful spots in the world with his entourage.
Canadian gaming company i3 Interactive has hired Dan Bilzerian to be the brand ambassador of FTR poker. They will use Bilzerian’s cult-like fame to help promote this online poker room in India.
Will The Celebrity Marketing Strategy Work?
Expect to see more celebrities and sports stars being signed by Indian facing gaming brands in the coming months. It is hard to tell immediately if this celebrity-endorsed marketing strategy will work successfully in the Indian market.
Gaming operators will have to wait from anywhere between 6 to 12 months to see if the return on investment (ROI) is worth it, as they are paying these celebrities and sports stars huge sums of money to endorse their brand. The best way to see if gaming operators have registered a good ROI is to see if these celebrity ambassadors get their contract renewed.