Sourav Ganguly and Virender Sehwag will not only have to shoulder the expectations of one billion Indians, but will also have to deliver if money has to continue pouring into cricket.
The recent dismal performance of the Indian cricket team both at the Asia Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy has dampened the spirits of the advertising community. And warning bells have started ringing with advertisers claiming that future investments in cricket could be impacted.
According to Mr Sandip Tarkas, CEO, Media Direction (part of RK Swamy/BBDO), "Let us hope that these losses are just short-term blips and the team performs better in the forthcoming series."
In fact, the recent loss against Pakistan in the ICC Championship could prevent the television rights holder Sony Entertainment Television from making extra bucks by selling the last few advertising spots at a premium.
"Normally broadcasters retain 5-10 per cent of the inventory, which are sold at the end at a higher cost. Since India is out of the tournament, the channel may not be able to generate this additional revenue," said Mr Ajit Varghese, General Manager, Madison Media.
This will also curb the inflationary trend usually witnessed in cricket. During the Indo-Pak series, advertising rates zoomed up, but these are expected to stabilise now, especially after India's poor performance, said a media planner.
Advertising industry sources said the advertising rate for the ICC Championship had come down to Rs 1.3 lakh-Rs 1.25 lakh for a 10 seconder. Low advertising rates can be a cause for worry especially for broadcasters banking on cricket to boost the channel.
Analysts were concerned about recovering the huge investments made by broadcasters such as Zee to acquire cricket rights.
Advertisers targeting the male audiences normally advertise during cricket matches, as television in India is generally woman-centric. "But these ads will only come in if the Boys in Blue are able to keep their fellow mates hooked," said the media planner.