The T20 format has caught on very rapidly in India, greatly buoyed by India being crowned the T20 World champions in 2007, especially after the country lost at the 50-over Cricket World Cup in 2007.
Now, close on the heels of India’s dismal performance at the recently-concluded 50-over Champions Trophy, comes the Airtel Champions League T20 championship and all are watching it with avid interest – advertisers, clients and, of course, the fans. The Champions League is on from October 8-23, 2009.
exchange4media spoke to advertisers and clients to find out their views on Airtel Champions League T20 and whether it would be more successful than Champions Trophy, not only because it is an inaugural tournament, but also because it is a new format altogether.
ESPN-Star Sports has the telecast rights for Airtel Champions League T20, and apart from India, the matches can be viewed in over 160 countries. In addition to Airtel as the title partner, Havells has come on board as associate partner. Coca-Cola has joined as beverage partner, while MIRC Electronics is the umpire sponsor. Maruti Suzuki, Sony India and Pepsi have also been roped in as on-air sponsor.
Rajneesh Chaturvedi, National Director, Mediaedge:cia, observed, “T20 as a format has done well and I hope that the inaugural season of Champion League does well. Although there are about nine non-India clubs, I think people will watch the game despite the buzz around the tournament is missing at the moment. It’s not that advertisers are tilting more towards the T20 format, in fact, ODIs are here to stay as both the forms of cricket have their own merits as far as advertising is concerned. However, I do see advertisers asking for more accountability and better ROI than before.”
According to R Venkata Subramanian, VP, Lintas Media Group, “It’s a new format this year, however, the way the tournament has been promoted, I expect the tournament to get around 4-5 TRPs. Champions League being a T20 format is taken as being successful any day, and that popularity of ODI matches are seeing a slight decline, therefore, Champions League T20 is better than a Champions Trophy any day, solely because of the T20 format. Advertisers do expect better ROI from T20 games as the ratings, too, are higher than an ODI.”
Sriram Krishnamurthy, VP - Sales, Marketing and Service, Onida, pointed out, “This is a new initiative, and especially since it is a Twenty20 format itself makes us very optimistic about the tournament. So, to that extend there is a lower risk compared to an ODI or Test format. However, people don’t identify so much with the club as they do with nationality, hence the loyalty factor will be lesser, nevertheless, T20 format is a big positive, and as I see it, it will be comparable with an IPL, if not slightly better.”
He further said, “T20 matches do get better ROI for advertisers, and if anything is going to be affected by T20, it will be the ODIs and not so much for Test matches. However, as an advertiser, ODI matches are always relevant and cricket will always be relevant as it is still the number one sport in the country and hence, there is not much of a risk involved. In fact, the bigger risk is the fact that people are playing for clubs and not nationality.”
Ruchika Batra, GM - Corporate Communications, Samsung South West Asia, said, “We are very optimistic about Champions League T20 as the Twenty20 format itself has become very popular, and for a company with as diverse portfolio as ours, it becomes an appropriate vehicle to reach out to our audience.”
T20 continues to be the most popular cricket format and media planners and the advertisers, too, are highly optimistic about Airtel Champions League T20 being a success, especially for the fact that this tournament is altogether a new format in itself. However, some have also highlighted the risk involved in that the players are playing for clubs and not nationality, and as a result, it would see lack of loyalty among fans.