The Indian Premier League (IPL), floated by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), has dampened the advertisement pitch of upcoming cricket properties.
Though the DLF-sponsored IPL was a hit with the advertisers, companies are not very enthusiastic to buy commercial time of upcoming cricket tournaments. The June 1-concluded IPL earned SET Max, the official broadcaster of the twenty over cricket format, around Rs 300 crore. ESPN, which will broadcast the Asia Cup starting on June 24, has roped in just four sponsors— Bharti Airtel and Havells as co-presenters, and Future Group and Maruti as associate sponsors—for the six-nation tournament. TVS, Nestle, Amway, Birla Sun Life Insurance, Tata Teleservices and GM Pens are spot buyers.
"Even though Sony signed up with few advertisers (for the IPL), the brands spent huge amounts which paid off at the end. Relatively, there is lukewarm response for the Asia Cup as of now. However, there are always buyers and it may take off," said Vikram Sakhuja, chief operating officer of media company Group M. While ESPN has been demanding Rs 2 lakh to 2.5 lakh for ten seconds of commercial time, media buyers are not enthused and are demanding a substantial cut in the rates ranging between Rs 1.2 - 1.5 lakh. When contacted ESPN spokeperson declined to comment.
Industry experts feel that there is a fatigue post IPL and as a result there has not been much interest even during the recently-ended tri-Series (which featured India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) on Neo Sports. Though the channel claims to have sold a ten-second slot for Rs 2.5 lakh (Neo and DD combined), media buyers said that the spot was sold in the range of Rs 1.75 -1.8 lakh. The ten-second spot for IPL was sold for around Rs 2.5-3 lakh and the semifinals and final for nearly 6-7 lakh.
During India-Australia series in October and India-Pakistan in November 2007, broadcaster Neo had earned over Rs 250 crore.
Media experts said that the lukewarm response may continue for the India-Sri Lanka series in July, India-Australia series and The ICC Champions
Trophy in September. "June to August is usually a slack period for advertisers and with the number of cricket properties, a brand cannot sign on each property unless it is a real audience puller. Brand will start queuing up for the ICC tournament the other properties will not attract heavy advertisers' interest," said an executive of a leading telecom service provider, one of the major spenders on cricket.
Ratings have also witnessed a decline. Even though India was pitched against
Pakistan in the finals of the tri-series, Neo Sports and DD1 clocked a combined viewership rating of 3.91 during the match, according to Audience Measurement & Analytics (a-MAP), while the grand finale of the DLF IPL had a 7.7 rating. Throughout the
tri-Series the joint ratings had been around 2 on Neo and DD1, while SET Max had clocked ratings ranging between 3 and 4.5 during the IPL.
Media experts fear that the twenty20 format will reduce the viewers' interest in ODIs. "IPL has definitely increased the popularity of the twenty over format across audiences. While the ratings for ODI will take a dip, Test matches may not be affected," said Basabdatta Chowdhiri, CEO of Madisson Media.