Nearly two decades after quenching the thirst of millions everyday across India, Sprite, one of the most loved sparkling beverages, is looking to drive greater relevance in Tamil Nadu.

An advertising campaign with Tamil star M. Nassar had hit the screens at the beginning of the year. It was the first TVC shot for Sprite specifically for the Tamil Nadu market.

To deepen its association with regional markets, Sprite has now associated with the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL), arguably India’s second largest T20 cricket league after the Indian Premier League (IPL). While it has drawn up an elaborate plan for the young fans, each of the 31 matches during TNPL will have a ‘Sprite Most Refreshing Player of the Match.’

Fans can be part of the cricket action at the two cities Dindugul and Tirunelveli, where most of the TNPL matches are being played. A virtual reality cricket game will be rolled out at various colleges in these two cities where fans stand to win tickets for the match.

To be part of the game, fans will have to wear Oculus Rift virtual reality headsets, which will transport them to a stadium setting. With the sensor-enabled bat, they can play the game as part of their favourite team. The digital bowler bowls six balls, after a trial of two, against which the batsmen have to score. And if the batsman does well, the crowd will cheer for him, just like the real crowd does in the stadium. A whiff of lemon complements the stadium-like experience.

To keep the fans hooked on to the matches throughout the tournament, several TNPL stars will also be marking their presence felt through outdoor hoardings and targeted digital content in Tamil telling them how Sprite refreshes them. Regular consumers of Sprite can relate to the experience of being refreshed. 

When summer was beginning to simmer, Sprite also associated with N. Santhanam, known across Tamil cinema for his acting and referred to as the ‘Comedy Superstar.’

Eight local cricket teams from the state will battle it out for the top honours at the Tamil Nadu Premier League (TNPL). Riding on the wave of popularity of the T20 format in India, the third edition of the league kicked off last week with much fanfare.

The four-week long tournament will see teams from eight different cities in the state in action. As has been seen during the first two editions of the league, they draw packed houses.

Players like Ravichander Ashwin, Washington Sundar, Vijay Shankar and Dinesh Karthik, Murali Vijay and Abhinav Mukund will be at their best to win the hearts of the local crowd. Some of the players who are part of the Indian team and playing in England currently, will return after the first week of the tournament is over.

Given the way it has been drawing audience across screens and on ground, T20 cricket has emerged as the most popular format for cricket in the country. During the 11th edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which started in 2008, broadcasts happened in six languages, which helped the game to be taken to the remotest parts of the country.

Coca-Cola was associated with the IPL, which has also emerged as India’s biggest sports league.

At least five cricket bodies across India – Tamil Nadu, Odisha, Telangana, Karnataka and Mumbai – now host a T20 league, and more are considering hosting their own leagues. These tournaments are driven by several regional and local brands, and some national brands.