Though the ICC T20 World cup, which is scheduled to kick off on March 16 and culminate on April 6, has been timed seasonally well, the timing coincides with the closing of the financial year for many companies. With the performance of the Indian team slightly dented in the recent past and the Indian Premier League (IPL) around the corner, marketers are keeping their spending cards close to their chests. However, the belief and optimism regarding the game continues to drive a positive trend.
According to Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the World Cup tournament, 70 per cent of the ad inventory has already been sold. Nitin Kukreja, Head of Sports Business, STAR India said, “The ICC World Twenty20 is a marquee tournament for viewers and advertisers. We have seen very strong advertiser response to the tournament. Nearly 70 per cent of the inventory has been sold to 15 advertisers, and with a very strong pipeline of discussions, we expect the balance inventory to be sold in the next three to four days”.
As per sources, the broadcaster is selling inventories in the range of Rs 3.5 to Rs 3.75 lakh per ten-second spot. Analysts and marketers have different views over the pricing of the inventory spots, with some marketers claiming that the pricing is on a high. They attribute the reasons to slow economic growth and curtailing of spends by marketers, primarily till the general elections. In the interim budget, the FM had cut down excise duty for the automobile and consumer goods, which in the short run has caused more losses to the sectors than planned gains. However, Hyundai Motors is the prime sponsor for the tournament. Some marketers believe the pricing structure is fine, but relatively expensive to other properties. They attribute the reasons to high traction and viewership of such properties, especially during high-voltage cricket matches like India vs Pakistan, irrespective of the past performance of the team.
At the same time, marketers are also optimistic about world cup properties and place their bets on traction, which the game of cricket attracts. They however consider the performance of the Indian team and the fame of the opposition as a yardstick before investing on ad spots.
Shashi Shankar, CMO, Idea Cellular said, “Cricket is a mass entertainer. It is always good to be associated with a mass entertainment product, which helps spread a mass message. Having said that, I cannot disclose our future plans of buying ad spots or future strategies of associating with such events.”
Sunil Gadgil, CMO, Nivea said, “Such properties are good to invest in when one has to showcase a new product launch. Ours is male oriented product. Our TG is apt and we might consider buying ad spots in the future. However, nothing has been finalised as yet.”
Sanjay Tripathi, EVP - Marketing, HDFC Life insurance said, “Buying of ad spots in the T20 World Cup would completely depend upon the performance of the Indian team. Our TG is apt for the World Cup tournament, but at the same time it depends upon how things pan out at that time.”
Manohar Bhatt, VP - Marketing, Maruti added here, “Cricket is a No. 1 game in terms of viewership in India. It is an easy way of grabbing eyeballs, and, therefore, marketers invest in property like that to attain instant attention. As far as investment decision on the property is concerned, it would completely depend upon the performance of the Indian team.”
Industry experts believe that this time, marketers would want to strike a fine balance between IPL and the T20 World Cup, and this is likely to cause the spends to get fragmented and segmented. This could also affect the overall cricket budget, which would eventually carve a huge corridor for extensive negotiations and placements.