T20 season is on full swing. Hardly had the excitement of IPL2 died down when stage is now set for the ICC T20 World Cup, which begins from June 5, 2009 in England. According to ESPN-STAR Sports, ICC’s global broadcast and production partner, the ICC World Twenty20 will be viewed by as many as 218 countries across the world.
ESPN-STAR Sports has lined up several on-air initiatives to make the telecast entertaining and engaging. Star Cricket will telecast live all the 27 matches at the ICC World Twenty20 2009. The high definition telecast will feature 13 cricketing legends and expert commentators for all the matches.
RC Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, said, “ESPN-STAR Sports had set huge benchmarks in the inaugural edition of the ICC World Twenty20, and we are confident that we will raise the bar again this time as defending champions India take on the best of T20 talent from all over the world. We have started with a bang with international syndication rights going to as many as 216 countries. This is almost double of what we achieved in the 2007 edition. Even in terms of on-air sales, we have written 80 per cent more revenue as compared to the last edition. We have signed 10 sponsors and an additional 20 corporates for spot-buys on live as well as pre-post programming.”
On a different note, Anita Nayyar, CEO, MPG Asia Pacific, said, “I don’t think ICC is as big as IPL, however, I think it will get decent amount of TRPs and viewership. Cricket is on an all-time high, though IPL was much hyped, it did not garner as much ratings as it did last year. As a game per se I think it will do fine.”
On how advertisers are viewing ICC T20, Mona Jian, Strategic Investments India Head at India Media Exchange (IMX), said, “We all are looking forward to it. The demand is huge and all the advertising space has been sold out already. It has done well in the past and I am sure will do good this year too. It will definitely get a lot of viewership.”
ICC General Manager – Commercial Campbell Jamieson affirmed, “We expect the ICC World Twenty20 to be the most viewed cricket event in the history of the game, which is a significant achievement, considering it is just the second-ever staging of this event. Through ESS, ICC’s global media rights and broadcast partner, and its various broadcast partners worldwide, this event can be viewed on television sets in over 200 countries.”
He further said, “If current trends are anything to go by, we expect that this event will continue to grow and become even bigger in the future. At the inaugural edition in 2007 in South Africa, the ratings were very high, not just in the Indian Sub-continent, which always has a huge cricket following, but across all participating countries and beyond. The India-Pakistan final on September 24, 2007 created history with the TVRs touching a peak of 15.2. This is a record for Indian TV. ESPN and STAR Cricket had a combined rating of 21.2 and a channel share of 47.2 per cent, taking large numbers of viewers away from normally popular reality TV shows being shown at the same time.”
“Despite the economic slowdown, the game has never been in such a strong position globally as it is today,” Jamieson added.
ESPN-STAR Sports will do extensive programming in and around the live telecast. All matches will have detailed pre- and post-match shows titled ‘Cricket Extra’. These shows will be hosted by Harsha Bhogle and Sanjay Manjrekar from the venue itself. In addition, they have also initiated an interactive cricket-based quiz, ‘Stumped’. This apart, an additional 10 preparatory matches termed ‘Launch Pad’ live and exclusive from England will also be telecast.
The ICC World Twenty20 will be broadcast by ESPN-STAR Sports as part of its eight-year agreement with ICC. ICC is confident that the second edition will achieve record-breaking viewership across the globe.