With the ICC Champions Trophy just around the corner, the International Cricket Council (ICC) is already geared to ensure that the interests of the investors in the series are protected. A commonly seen move to ride a sporting event wave without being a sponsor has been seen in many cases – ICC has announced that it would be taking action against any such occurrence for the forthcoming series in India in October- November 2006.
For the ICC Champions Trophy 2006, ICC has signed agreements with LG Electronics, Pepsi Cola International, Hutchison Max, Hero Honda; official sponsors: IndianOil, Cable & Wireless, VISA International; Indian licensees: Sony Entertainment Television, Doordarshan and All India Radio.
Brian Murgatroyd, Media Manager, ICC, explained that for the sport itself, it was important that the investors in the event got full value for money. ICC sees this as a positive aspect for the sport itself and its growth and hence, has expressed concerns on possible ambush marketing. “What we are doing is what other international bodies like FIFA, International Rugby Board and so on do to protect sponsors in an event of this nature.”
He further said, “We have no issues with people supporting cricket, but if they want to support and be associated with our cricket, they have to take the right to do that and if they don’t, they can’t have any association with ICC Cricket. If such an action is seen, we would enforce our intellectual property and trade rights, but we are really hoping that it doesn’t come to that.”
Murgatroyd explained that even as it wasn’t necessary that such could be the case, the ICC was anticipating it could happen and hence, was taking steps for anyone who tried to exploit the event without rights.
“We want to have an excellent tournament here in India. India is one of our strongest markets and in terms of the level of interest, in this part of the world, cricket really is the life blood of people and this is a big tournament,” he pointed out.
“We really are in a win-win situation for all and we would want that people who have invested in the game get their due – this is the only way the sport itself will grow,” stressed Murgatroyd.
Ambush marketing is often described as ‘parasite’ marketing. The basic intention behind ambush marketing is to deceive and mislead the public into believing that the entity has an official association with the event, when in fact no such association exists. The ambush marketing activities are especially observed in connection with mega international sports events due to their popularity and the emotional connect.
It is observed worldwide that the ambush marketing activities are usually undertaken by competitors of the official sponsors and licensees to mislead the consumers, and thus diluting the benefits of the investments made by the official sponsors.
In particular, ambush marketing potentially:
(a) dilutes the value of the event and, therefore, the value of any official association with it;
(b) creates doubt and confuses the consumer as to who is associated with the event and, therefore, which companies they ought to support;
(c) undermines the value of the sponsors’ investments and demeans their efforts to activate their marketing around the event;
(d) threatens the financial base of cricket and the ability to attract new sponsorship and licensing partners to cricket. As such it will disrupt flow of funds to cricketers and development programmes;
(e) damages the image of the event and the sport of cricket by detracting from game.