The leading cricket portals are cashing on the busy cricket matches schedule of the Indian cricket team. The high user base of these online properties is attracting major ad spenders to increase their brand visibility on Internet through them.
Leading the cricket portal bandwagon is cricinfo.com where brands including Royal Challenge, McDowells, KingFisher, Royal Stag, ICICI Bank, Standard Chartered, Voltas, Rayban, Canon, Godrej and even US brands like Photojagat, c2it, WQN, and Paylessdial are advertised. Speaking to exchange4media, Ramesh Kumar, COO of cricinfo.com said, "In case of emphatic brand visibility, let's say for alcohol brands, we provide them with series sponsorship opportunities which not only ensures dominance across the site but also high visibility thru other ad tools like banners/sky scrapers/pop unders/panels etc. And in case of user interactivity with the brand and information gathering, we create special zones with a contest in sync with the brand's propositions."
The Modi Entertainment promoted criclive.com also has been used by leading brands like Samsung, Castrol, Citibank, Prudential ICICI, Voltas, Set Max, ABN Amro, Makemytrip.com and Bharatmatrimony.com as an advertising platform. It has also attracted Citibank USA and ICICI Bank for targeting NRIs customer base. The Hindustan Times Group's online venture htcricket.com too finds big advertisers like Hindustan Lever and Citibank besides others on its portal.
In order to garner a larger share in the ad pie, the cricket portals have taken the innovation route. Sunil Wuthoo, Business Head of criclive.com says, "We have tried to move away from the conventional banners and gone ahead to understand the brand message of a particular brand and accordingly create a property with which a visitor can interact and remember the brand."
Playing with Bacardi's lighter moments, the portal came up with lighter moments of cricket wherein it asked participants questions about the incidents that happened on the cricket field.
Similarly, cricinfo.com has created 'Kirkets', an online and offline cricket club for fans in association with KingFisher beer. The portal has also launched domestic cricket ratings in association with Rayban.
In terms of traffic, Sanjay Trehan, General Manager-Internet of Hindustan Times Group claims, "HTcricket.com is today clogging over a million page views on a match day with real time reportage, ball-by-ball commentary of all matches being played." Criclive too claims a high traffic with 2 Lac unique visitors a day and 100 million hits a month.
The traffic on cricket sites are directly linked to the match schedule of Indian cricket team. For example, on cricinfo.com as per the company sources, average page views on the day of one day match featuring India goes as high as 3.5 million a day. Whereas average page views on a non-India match day remains at 0.8 million a day. The traffic goes down to 0.5 million average page views a day when there is no match at all.
Currently, they all are gearing up to keep the visitors updated with the latest happenings during the forthcoming World Cup besides wooing the potential advertisers with a fresh set of advertising initiatives.