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FIFA World Cup 2006: A sporting property hotter than cricket

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FIFA World Cup 2006: A sporting property hotter than cricket

The records set in 2002 may have created very high expectations around FIFA World Cup 2006 – the biggest soccer event on the planet and perhaps the greatest event in international sports. Till now, the performance of FIFA World Cup 2006, on the count of ratings, has met all expectations. The hype was apparent, the brand involvement was aplenty, but did it get the numbers? The answer is not only in the affirmative but, for once, soccer has beaten cricket in India.

The single event that allows a comparison between cricket and soccer in India is the Digicel Cup. The event began much before FIFA World Cup 2006, but clashed with the series during the second Test between India and West Indies. TAM Media Research figures show that the Digicel Cup being telecast on Ten Sports has done well for itself. The five ODIs have thrown figures as high as 4.22, 5.34, 5.77, 5.7 and 4.28 for the target CS 15+ ABC males in the all-India market.

The Test series, which began in June 2006, delivered an average TVR of 2.26 for the first Test, while the second Test saw a TVR of 2.8, which made for a channel share of 18.64 per cent. The second Test was played around the same time as the FWC league matches and though Ten Sports didn’t see a fall in performance, the FIFA World Cup 2006 has thrown better numbers than the Digicel Cup Test series.

Quoting TAM Media Research again, the first FIFA World Cup 2006 match between Germany and Costa Rica was at 3.43 in the above-mentioned TG and market – giving a channel share of 13.97 per cent. Another match on the same day, though it delivered a 0.56 TVR, accounted for a channel share of over 20 per cent owing to the odd hour of the match.

The three FIFA matches played on June 10, too, have some interesting numbers to speak of. The third match threw a TRP of 2.27 and a channel share of 16.27 per cent, while the fourth match delivered 3.04 with a channel share of 13.04 per cent. The third match of the day, which was the fifth FIFA match, delivered a TRP of 1.49 with a channel share of 26 per cent.

So is the FIFA World Cup 2006 delivering? With the first two days delivering these kinds of numbers, one would be inclined to think so. Not to mention that some of the latest TAM numbers have thrown even higher numbers for the subsequent matches. It is largely seen that the FIFA matches in the primetime duration (9.30 pm) have delivered a lot higher than the late night (post-midnight) and the evening (6.30 pm) matches. However, in the case of channel share, the post-midnight matches have higher numbers to flaunt.

In fact, the 13th FIFA match on June 13, 2006, delivered almost 2 TRP in the late night slot. An interesting point that comes across from the TAM data is that it may not be completely right to compare cricket with soccer. To give an example, TAM Media Research data clearly shows that while FIFA World Cup 2006 has built its strength from the metros, cricket has an all-India support.

Also, FIFA World Cup 2006 has much higher numbers in the SEC A – a 25 per cent increase of the TG on ESPN. Cricket, on the other hand, draws on SEC D and E as well. Digicel Cup recorded a 12 per cent increase in this TG. Interestingly, FIFA World Cup 2006 brought in more women in comparison to men. ESPN has seen a jump from 26 per cent to 31 per cent in its female TG on the FIFA match days in comparison to pre-FIFA days. The male TG of the channel, in fact, has seen a marginal dip. On the other hand, Digicel Cup on Ten Sports has seen a 2 per cent dip in the female TG and a 2 per cent increase in the male TG.

Looking at the six metro numbers for CS4+, it can be seen that within just the first two days, the relative share of sports channels increased from 2 per cent to 19 per cent. Some of the genres that have seen a dip in the period are Hindi General Entertainment channels (dropped from 65 per cent relative share to 54 per cent) and Regional Entertainment that has dropped from 33 per cent to 27 per cent.

The FIFA World Cup 2006 has allowed ESPN unique walk-ins of 33 per cent, which is a base of 2.4 million viewers.

However, data also show that nearly half the viewership base, that is, 49 per cent of the viewers, watched both FIFA and cricket, implying duplicated viewership. The bottom line is that soccer and cricket do exhibit a substantial common audience, but the two have also witnessed separate audience profile dynamics. For a media plan – this may not be a case of either/or, but can be used as two different options to meet a differentiated marketing objective.


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