DHL integrates technology to deliver match ball innovatively during Hero ISL Season 7

CIOReviewIndia Team | Friday, 09 April 2021, 08:01 IST

DHL integrates technology to deliver match ball innovatively during Hero ISL Season 7Football, ‘The Beautiful Game” has always been popular, but India’s real love affair with the game started with ‘Hero Indian Super League, a tournament that has now intrinsically become a part of the country’s footballing ecosystem. It is a dream that has been carefully nurtured and turned into one of Indian sport’s most coveted products. The 7th season of Hero ISL was testimony to how it was a perfect blend of sport and entertainment.

The pandemic forced stakeholders across the globe to think out of the box in their effort to sustain growth and adhere to safety protocols. When the Hero ISL-7 started, there were apprehensions on how challenging it would be to create a bio-secure hub for five months and conduct a high-profile glamorous league with many restrictive parameters and verticals. That included, having minimal operational staff, no spectators and delivering a unique experience in times of social distancing.

The Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL) and all the other stakeholders, the 2020-21 edition became a stupendous success despite not having a single spectator in the stands.

Keeping with the spirit of continuous improvement, DHL and Star Sports brought in the concept of contactless delivery and innovation in the latest season of ISL by delivering the official match ball using a Drone. First of its kind in India, this technological innovation will certainly stand the test of time. As world’s leading express delivery service provider, DHL’s entry into the fully automated smart drone solution to tackle the last-mile delivery challenges was inspirational in its own right.

The custom-made, remote-controlled replica of DHL’s ‘Real Life Vans’, manufactured only for ISL by using cutting edge technology resolved the issue of no human contact while delivering the match ball. This classy item stood for the company’s motto, ‘Innovation Simply Delivered’.

DHL has been the official match ball delivery partner over the past 6 Hero ISL seasons. The welcoming and ever-smiling DHL representatives have been a regular feature at every single game over the years. In the changing world, DHL’s Drones, became a feather in the cap of both organizers as well as the sponsors.

As per Sandeep Juneja, Vice-President, Sales and Marketing, DHL Express, “It was one of the finest TV spectacles. The drone Match Ball delivery was an extension of our business idea into a marketing innovation. To start off, we developed a mini-DHL van and delivered the Match Ball through this remote-controlled car, which was quite a TV spectacle. Drone Delivery has been in the works for quite some time, but need to wait for the government permissions.”

This year, along with its stakeholders, ISL was driven with the intent of creating an incredible viewing experience for its viewers. One must appreciate the genial association between ISL and DHL, discovering a marvelous item of inventiveness in its pursuit of conceiving a unique and praiseworthy ball delivery solution, in spite of the added safety requirements the pandemic demanded.

How successful Hero ISL has been, can also be quantified by a research-based ranking published by YouGov Sports’ Global Buzz 2021. The research found Hero ISL tournament to be in the fifth position in terms of popularity, eclipsing many prestigious sports.

Using the ISL platform, DHL took the simple task of delivering the match ball, notches higher, forever stamping its presence in the collective Indian consciousness, increasing its brand value and winning the trust of consumers, without using any of the regular touchpoints Indeed, an ingenious illustration of marketing.

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