Indo-Pak series: Another historic thrash-a-thon?

26 Dec,2012

 

By A Correspondent

 

Tensions of other sorts are usually forgotten when India and Pakistan meet on the cricket pitch. This time it is a battle of one-upmanship as the two countries are clashing after a gap of five years.

 

While the Indo-Pak series of three ODIs and two T20s is a short tour, it is creating enough ripples among cricket-crazy fans. What makes it more enthralling is the fact that India had beaten Pakistan in both formats of the game the last time they landed here during the 2007-08 tour. Of the three Tests that the two played against each other, India won the series 1-0, having drawn the remaining two. As for the ODIs, it was a 3-2 victory in favour of India that did the country proud.

 

While it was Saurav Ganguly who was at his superlative best in the Test series that enabled India to take the lead, it was the young Yuvraj Singh who shone with the bat in the ODI format, making him earn the prestigious man-of-the-series award.

 

Going by speculation doing the rounds, for broadcaster ESPN-Star the tournament was a success even before it took off. According to some reports, the channel has managed to sell out maximum inventory at two to three times (totalling more than Rs 1.5 billion) the rate compared to the just concluded India-England series. This augurs well for the network given that it has to pay Rs 322.5 million per match for the five match series.

 

Sanjay Kailash

To a query from MxMIndia, Sanjay Kailash, EVP, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, said, “We are delighted with the response from advertisers to the India-Pakistan series. India-Pakistan is always extremely sought after and the series therefore was sold at a premium. We have monetised India-Pakistan ODIs at a rate which is double as compared to the historical industry average. Even rates for India-Pakistan T20 are double than the most sought after T20 tournament in the country.”

 

 

 

Anilkumar Sathiraju

Sharing his excitement about the series, Anilkumar Sathiraju, AVP & Head, DDB MudraMax, Media, said that on the ratings front he expects the series to be a big hit. “It will be quite good. I am expecting it to be a positive and a good series. Ratings will definitely see a spike as it is India-Pakistan at the end of the day. The fact that a few advertisers are quite gung-ho about it makes it more exciting.”

 

 

 

Divya Gupta

Divya Gupta, CEO, Dentsu Media, too had some words of praise for the series irrespective of the fact that India had put up a drab performance in the recent past. She said, “An India-Pakistan series is in a realm of its own; evokes emotions, fervour and fever like none else. It doesn’t matter whatever Team India has achieved /not achieved in the recent past. It is a marquee game, event, media property that viewers and marketers and broadcasters are betting on; and deliver it will.”

 

 

Anita Nayyar

Giving a more detailed outlook on the series, Anita Nayyar, CEO, Havas Media India & South Asia, said the fact that the series is taking place after many years is in itself a great pull. “From a viewing perspective three of the five matches are scheduled on holidays which will help the cause of viewing. Also the ODIs start at 8pm-primetime making viewers more available. In fact, most India-Pakistan matches have delivered ratings in the range of 5-6. This series should do similar numbers; however, with TAM data not being available the deliveries will be guess estimates.”

 

Ms Nayyar’s summation of the series is probably what will matter at the end of this historical sporting tie-up. “Ratings or no ratings, the competition between India and Pakistan has always generated huge interest for both viewers and advertisers, and is considered a safe investment. It is a good way to bid adieu to a tough year and a fine beginning to a new one.”

 

If the first T20 encounter between the India and Pakistan in Bengaluru last evening (Dec 25) was any indication, the contest on field is going to be tough. While every match going down to the wire may not be good news for weak hearts, it’s sure to see ratings soar. And advertisers and broadcasters happy.

 

Photograph: Fotocorp

 

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