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Cricket mania continues

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Cricket mania continues

The India Zimbabwe match yesterday – a Perth match again – saw India winning by four wickets. Though there was not much interest left in this match, the simple reason that it was being played on the pitch where India lost by five wickets to Australia, would have made cricket fans watch the match.

Most of the excitement, however, would be reserved for the Best of Three Finals on February 6, 8 and 10. As per industry sources, there is a lot of interest in these matches and the asking rate for the new advertisers would be Rs 10 lakh plus per 30 seconds – demand here is expected to be much higher than supply.

Though, India’s last match with Australia was nothing to write home about – cricket enthusiasts are blaming it on the turning wicket. Indian matches in the series have garnered great ratings and the ratings for the India – Australia matches are even cooler.

Let us look at ESPN’s performance in this series (Source – TAM Media Research – 9th to 24th January 2004). TG under consideration is 4+ C&S and 15+ males, all TAM markets. The first India-Australia ODI delivered ratings of 6 and 8 for the two target groups respectively. The second ODI delivered ratings close to 8 (TG - 4+) and 10 (TG – 15+ males). The third ODI saw ratings close to 6 and 8 for the two target groups.

Ratings for the India-Zimbabwe matches, though not as exciting, are impressive enough. The first match between the two sides saw ratings averaging around 3 and 4.5 for the two target groups respectively, the second ODI delivered TRPs close to 4 and 6, and the third had ratings to the tune of 5 and 7.

Matches between Australia and Zimbabwe fetched ratings in the proximity of 1 for 4+ TG and close to 2 for 15+ Male TG.

Now, of course, all eyes are on the Finals and more so, on the second final as its on a Sunday. States Amit Ray, “Cricket is not about ratings alone, it is almost a religion and the involvement levels are very high. The second final would fall on a Sunday and the hunch is that it would be the most heavily viewed match of the series. As far as I know, every single slot on it is sold out.”

Amol Dighe, Investment Director, MindShare Fulcrum, states, “The next three matches might not be too ahead but would definitely perform better than the completed India-Australia matches. The matches in the series have been closely contested and that is the reason for such high continued viewer interest.”

Does it make sense to advertise at rates tipped to be more than Rs 10 lakh per 30 seconds? States Dighe, “To begin with, I do not have confirmed information as to the ad rates being so high. And then again, it would differ from one target audience and brand to another. If you are talking to an adult male, cricket provides you a captive audience and then investment in the series even now can make good sense.”

The India-Pakistan series is said to be heavily priced too. What is more, even the inventory, as per industry sources, is more or less full. Would it lead some of the advertisers who were not able to find a slot there to the India-Australia Best-Of-Three final? Not likely believe media experts. States Ray, “Highly unlikely. Market scenario will change, and the advertisers would not prepone their spend just to be on cricket – it is not easy to change your complete brand communication strategy.”

Dighe endorses, “Timing of the match is very important. It is unlikely that one would shift the campaign just to be on cricket. If you can’t advertise on cricket for whatever reasons, you will look at other options – and these options are available for spot buy guys. If you want to be present there as a sponsor – then it might be a different story.”

Well, three days to go for the final. We might as well wait and watch what happens. The excitement might not be as high as while battling it out with our traditional rivals in the cricket field. However, there is a thrill in giving Australia a run for money in its own country. What say?


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