India out, advertisers still in!

04 Oct,2012


By Ananya Saha and Robin Thomas


India might not have made it to the semi-finals of the T20 Cricket World Cup, but the advertisers and sponsors of the event are still cheering. ESPN Star had sold inventories to about 34 advertisers and, according to industry estimates, the advertising revenues that the channel made for the T20 World Cup are already in the range of Rs 250 crore. Are they complaining?


Mahesh Ranka

Mahesh Ranka, Founder & CEO, Indus Sports and Sponsorship, feels that India’s performance would hit the advertisers. He said, “The ad deliveries in the World Cup will be lower given that India did not make it through. However, the advertisers and sponsors would have taken the factor of India not making it through before they signed up. The bigger issue is for ESPN Star, whose inventory might be affected.”


It is no news that advertisers and agencies always plan with such contingencies, of India not winning or getting out of a tournament, in mind. And especially in the case of T20, India was going to play either five matches or seven. With just three games left, from a sheer quantity perspective, it does not seem a big loss to advertisers.


Anwesh Bose

Anwesh Bose, Senior Vice President, DDB MudraMax Media, said, “Advertisers and sponsors have got their value already. Cricket is a non-cancellable property, so nobody is going to withdraw the money they have put in. For the T20 World Cup, sponsors buy the inventory for the entire tournament.” He added, “The broadcaster, in this case ESPN Star, holds back about 10 percent of inventory of finals and semi-finals, which they sell at a very high premium. Now that India did not go, they might not be able to command the premium for the inventory.”


With India losing, ESPN Star has definitely lost an opportunity that they would have capitalised on if India had made it through.



Vivek Srivastava

Vivek Srivastava, Joint MD, Innocean Worldwide, said, “If you are a brand that looks at tactical use of such opportunities then you might sound like prophets of doom at this eventuality. However, most strategically driven brands today have long-term sports marketing properties and a long-term perspective on leveraging them. They look at a long-term engagement via a mega sport like cricket. Our client Hyundai has a long-term vision about integrating the brand and engaging with India’s passion for cricket as well as other cricket-playing nations via a five-year official partner status with the ICC. While India missing out on a semi-final berth hurts the emotions, it is business as usual.”


Agreeing with Mr Srivastava is Hiren Pandit, Managing Partner-Special Projects at Group M who opined, “Advertisers have got more mileage and viewership during the T20 matches, and India’s exit will be slightly disappointing for them. Most of the advertisers in cricket are long-term advertisers, all the deals have been done earlier. India’s early exit may have been a missed opportunity but it does not mean that advertisers will not continue to sponsor the sport. Viewership will be impacted by India’s exit but there will still be some viewership.”


The industry believes that the viewership will only see a minor blip, if at all. According to Satish Menon, CEO, Sports 18, while advertisers may be slightly disappointed with the loss, it is not going to stop them from advertising or investing in cricket in the near future.


Mr Menon asserted, “When (Team India) does not do well it does reflect on the viewership and so on. As far as the viewership is concerned there will be a marginal dip, not a huge one because cricket is a universal game and a lot of the cricket fans or viewers also follow other matches equally. So I don’t think India’s exit will have any major impact on viewership and especially because it is the T20 World Cup.”


Sudha Natrajan

“When India is not there in a tournament, there is between 25 percent and about 35 percent drop in the viewership as compared to when India is playing. This is the sort of trend you see in the earlier games. If the games are interesting, the viewership could even climb, despite India’s exit from the tournament. The problem however is the buzz and the interest level that the country has when India is playing as compared to when they are not playing. So more than the TVR, it is the overall interest that you see diminishing,” concluded Sudha Natrajan, founder, TMC Corporation.


Given that it is the festive season in India, the advertisers might not mind a few losses.



Clippings above (LtoR) from DNA, Hindustan Times and The Times of India


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