Banking On The Cricket Frenzy: How Rana Kapoor Implemented The Exemplary Marketing Strategy

From the IPL to the YBPL, former MD & CEO of Yes Bank, Rana Kapoor, conquered it all by encouraging a sporting platform

Aitha Singh
4 min readMay 18, 2021


Rana Kapoor

Even though cricket is not the national game of India, it is undoubtedly the most popular and most watched sport in India. The word ‘cricket’ here is considered to be synonymous with ‘religion’. The passion, craze, thrill, and excitement of the spectators, as well as of the players, are truly exceptional. The hysteria and enthusiasm for cricket trumps all. Most Indians can bond over the topic of cricket and have endless discussions and conversations, it is one of the most popular ice-breakers.

Rana Kapoor, founder, former managing director and CEO of Yes Bank, employed the “most remarkable marketing strategy to facilitate brand recognition and further propel his pan India retail banking franchise”.

YES BANK, India’s 4th largest private bank bagged the ultimate opportunity and signed up as the official partner of the Indian Premier League (IPL) in the financial services category in 2013. Following just after Pepsi signing up as the official title sponsor and the renewal of Vodafone’s association with the tournament, the private sector lender was named in the IPL’s partner list. This partnership with IPL helped YES BANK gain immense popularity among the masses, especially among the Indian youth.

According to a BARC India report, 93% of all sports viewers in 2018 tuned to cricket content, women also formed a large chunk of the audience. The Indian Premier League (IPL) is one of the most prominent cricket events in the country. The viewership of IPL increased from 77% in 2018 to 81% in 2019. It is being telecast on nationwide platforms and in several different languages. Thus, Rana Kapoor was ahead of his time to bank on this platform at a nascent stage.

Yes Bank did not just sign up as any other official partner of the IPL, but Kapoor ensured that the bank maximized its sponsorship. It used the sponsorship of sixes known as the “Yes Bank Maximums” to draw attention to its interest rate of 6% on savings accounts. With the commentators frequently mentioning “Yes Bank Maximum” every time a batsman hit a sixer, Yes Bank soon became a household name with immense brand recall. This marketing strategy was directly in sync with Yes Bank’s retail expansion plan.

This strategy was acknowledged by many, as under the seasoned banker, Rana Kapoor’s term, YES BANK grabbed multiple recognitions at the CMO Asia’s Social Media & Digital Marketing Excellence Awards hosted by the World Brand Congress in Singapore. YES BANK was also honoured with the award for the Best Social Media Campaign of the year, for the 360-degree campaign during the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2016.

Rana Kapoor’s reason to collaborate with IPL was for Yes bank to gain mass appeal and reach. The aim was achieved as Yes Bank’s partnership with IPL was easily the biggest and most visible branding strategy. Over the years and with IPL’s groundbreaking success, Yes Bank also grew and touched new heights.

During a period of five years, Yes Bank and its partnership with IPL had resulted in 180 million impressions across 25 million actively engaged cricket fans on platforms like Facebook and Twitter. With over 10 million cricket fans engaged with the content, the following increased by 1.5 million followers across social media platforms. When it comes to the media value of IPL for Yes Bank, there was an increase from INR 118.66 crore in 2013 to INR 274.36 crore in 2016. The initial 20 matches of the 2017 IPL Season held a media value of INR 58.12 crore.

In addition to signing a five-year contract with the Indian Premier League (IPL) as an official partner and on-ground sponsor, Rana Kapoor integrated his brand and the sport of cricket together, launching the YES BANK Premier League.

The market veteran recognized the fact that MSMEs emerge as the primary drivers of the sustained high growth of the country’s GDP. With the aim to encourage the same team spirit amongst the business community, Rana Kapoor initiated the YES BANK Premier League (YBPL). It is a first-of-its-kind sporting platform that facilitates engagement with the MSME community- the driving force of the Indian economy.

Rana Kapoor wanted to encourage and uplift the team spirit amongst his employees as well and being an ardent believer of cohesion in a community, YES BANK came up with this annual cricket festival to bring together MSME teams from across India to play live in stadiums across the country.

In the year 2019, the league was played out across 10 Indian cities with 160 matches to be played in total and over 2400 participants from MSMEs. YES BANK Premier League turned out to be one of the most successful ventures under Rana Kapoor’s stint as the MD & CEO of the bank. It portrayed Kapoor’s willingness to understand the clients and to develop deeper relationships with them. This move has definitely helped the private bank to connect with the business and retail community on a personal level and also promote stronger relations with them by getting to know each other better