When it comes to cricket, marketers can’t get it wrong. After the success of Season 2 of the Indian Premier League (IPL), followed by the T20 World Cup, activity is now building up around the innovative T20 format Champions League, which will commence from October 8, 2009. exchange4media finds out more about the marketing activities and expectations from this tournament.
In September 2008, ESPN-STAR Sports (ESS) had bagged the global commercial rights for Champions League T20 for 10 years bidding an amount of $975 million. The deal is also said to have given ESS the exclusive rights for all the matches in the inaugural Champions League Twenty20 season, which is scheduled to be held from October 8-23, 2009 and through the 10 years. The 16-day League will have a total of 23 T20 matches. The tournament would be played across three venues – Bangalore, Delhi and Hyderabad. Airtel has been recently roped in as the title sponsor for a five-year period.
What the media planners say
Ajit Varghese, MD, Maxus India, said, “The Champions League T20 will see some amount of advertising support, and being held in India will definitely be an advantage. However, in terms of viewership, I see this tournament having medium success. A lot will depend on the way this tournament is marketed as well, but Champions League T20, being the inaugural tournament, itself will work in its favour.”
Rajneesh Chaturvedi, National Director, MEC Access, explained, “T20 as a concept has been widely accepted by everybody, that is, viewers and advertisers, and Champions League T20 is a continuation of that phenomenon. Keeping in mind the popularity and acceptance of T20, I believe Champions League T20 will be widely accepted and is here to stay. However, the property will take some time to build.”
Prasanth Kumar, Managing Partner - CTG, GroupM, observed, “There are three Indian teams, which is an advantage. It is taking place on Indian soil, which is another advantage, and, therefore, there are a lot of expectations from the tournament. And if this League is marketed well, it will only do well.”
According to Sanjay Sharma, Director, Synergy, “With three IPL teams in this tournament, it is bound to generate interest among the viewers, however, it will all depend on their performance too. Champions League T20 will have a high reach, but I don’t think it will be of the stature of IPL or T20 World Cup. This tournament will certainly have viewers’ interest and any cricket, particularly T20, coming at a good time will most certainly pull in viewership.”
Media planners believe that the Champions League T20 has the advertisers support and that it will generate viewer interest because of its format, however, they have stressed that the tournament needs be marketed well to gain the maximum advantage.