Every once in a while there is something that triggers the cricket, as an advertising property, debate in India. This time it is the ICC T20 World Cup. The tournament came close in the heels of the second season of the Indian Premier League, and many reports had stated that the ICC T20 World Cup was one of the more expensive cricket properties available. Many brands such as Reliance utilised the T20 World Cup to launch key marketing initiatives such as for the GSM business. The expectations from Team India, more so since India was the reigning champion of the tournament, were high. Now that Team India has been eliminated from the games, the cricket debate, in a sense, is set off again.
Disappointed but prepared
As is known some of the global partners and ground sponsors for ICC T20 World Cup included Pepsi, LG, Reliance ADA Group, Hero Honda and even UltraTech. From an advertiser standpoint, the fact that India would be playing five matches at least, was some solace.
However, M Suku, Head – Media Strategy and Alliances, Reliance ADA Group, made no qualm of the fact that India’s elimination from the games was a disappointment. He added, “That said, intelligent media planners are prepared for all kinds of scenario when they plan and buy any property. So right from the worst extreme, that Team India would not even make it to the Super Eights, to the best extreme, where the team would be competing in the finals -- all were planned for. And the conversation with the media owners or the broadcasters in this case was on those lines too.”
“Since we had planned for all scenarios and had engaged in those kinds of deals with the broadcasters, while we are disappointed, it is not a shock,” stated Suku.
Divya Radhakrishnan, President, TME, on the other hand stated, “This is a huge disappointment. Having lifting the Cup last year, Team India was expected to go at least till the semis. This may not be as bad as the ICC World Cup 2007 when India did not even make it to the Super Eights, but it is still bad news.”
T20 World Cup vs. IPL
All media experts that exchange4media spoke to have stated that even as there still are matches that India has to play, there would be a drop in viewership with India’s exit, as the interest in the matches would decrease. Media analysts stated that any tournament that has a market aligned to one team has its advantages and disadvantages.
It would appear that the IPL format arrests at least one problem, and ensures that there is viewership right up to the finals, irrespective of which team is winning. However, there is a divided house on a comparison of the two formats, where most experts state that the two formats cannot be compared.
Rajneesh Chaturvedi, National Director, MEC Access, explained, “Nothing can beat if India goes on to the final to win the World Cup. That audience engagement would never come in any other kind of cricket. For ICC T20 World Cup, India is playing five matches for sure, and hence the hope was only for two more matches. However, the element of uncertainty is higher in the T20 format, and so everyone was prepared for anything.”
Radhakrishnan agreed and added, “IPL will not necessarily give you the fervour and the impact that a World Cup where a team representing a nation is playing. Cricket would continue to be one property that can get the entire family together, and glue them to the screen.”
The cricket debate may be on in some quarters but if the experts’ comments are anything to go by, this is one property where advertisers would continue to invest as long as there is hope that India can win.