The Twenty20 cricket format has been a big hit and has strengthened its position further with the recently concluded IPL2. However, it was the maiden ICC T20 World Cup that set the ball rolling, and with India winning the championship, the Cup of joy runneth over. exchange4media gauges the mood of media planners regarding the forthcoming ICC T20 World Cup 2009.
T20 has national connect, but experts caution on timings
On his views on ICC T20 World Cup 2009, Mahesh Ranka, General Manager-India, Relay Worldwide, Starcom MediaVest Group, said, “I believe the timing of the game (10 pm) can affect the viewership, it has been traditionally seen that whenever India plays against any country, and especially if it is an arch rival, the ratings are bound to go up. All in all, there could be some amount of challenge in terms of ratings and if at all the viewership can retained despite the timings.”
He continued, “Indian players are divided into the eight different IPL teams and enough action happens around these teams, whereas for a country team, T20 World Cup having a national connect has wider reach of audience as compared to IPL. However, it would not be fair to compare the two – T20 and IPL – because they are two different things as both are bigger for their own reasons, and even in viewership profile there is not much difference as they have their own element of following.”
According to Manas Mishra, Country Head, Mudra Connext, “I believe the T20 World Cup 2009 should be better than the 2007 World Cup and with India as the defending champions, the enthusiasm for the game has only doubled, but viewership will only matter depending on India’s performance. Nevertheless, on the flip side, given that a lot of cricket has already been played, there is also a lot of caution on how much cricket one can take.”
He further said, “In terms of overall net reach of IPL, viewership was a little lower, and with T20 World Cup being held after IPL might benefit because there is an expectation for India to play well in international cricket.”
Sanjay Sharma, Director, Synergy, observed, “In terms of ratings, it will be on similar levels, and while T20 was very new last year, this year the expectations are very high because India is the defending champions and since most of the players have got practice in the IPL2 itself, therefore, making consumer interest a little more higher than last year. However, to sustain that viewership, India will have to perform well.”
“I feel the audience profile could be broader, however, it is the ownership of the country is far higher as there is a sense of ownership when it comes to the Indian team and, therefore, the audience profile when it comes to a national game is much broader,” he added.
The T20 World Cup 2009 is scheduled to be held from June 5-21, 2009, in England. The success of the T20 World Cup in 2007 prompted sports broadcaster ESPN-STAR Sports (ESS) to hike its ad rates by 50 per cent for the upcoming ICC T20 World Cup. According to industry sources, more than 90 per cent of the inventory has been sold.
India’s victory in the ICC T-20 World Cup 2007 gave rise to the popularity of the domestic T-20 tournaments, thus giving birth to the Indian Premier League in 2008. Comparing how the two tournaments fared in terms of TVRs, a recent study by TAM Media Research found that the first season of IPL raked in 102 million viewers, while IPL 2009 with the final match to spare, had accumulated 118 million viewers.
Going by the study, IPL 2008 had the highest rating of 4.81 per cent, whereas the ICC T-20 World Cup 2007 on ESPN got merely 2.35 per cent. However, matches played by India got a rating of 6 per cent (including the finals, which garnered a rating of 8.46 per cent). Looking at league matches, India’s Group and Super eight matches in the T-20 World Cup got 4.9 per cent TVR, whereas league matches in IPL 2008 got a TVR of 4.64 per cent, while the league matches in IPL 2009 garnered 3.99 per cent TVR.
ESPN-STAR Sports, ICC’s global broadcast and production partner, recently announced that the forthcoming ICC World Twenty20 would be viewed by as many as 216 countries across the world as compared to 105 countries in 2007. Star Cricket will telecast Live all the 27 matches from the ICC World Twenty20 2009. The broadcaster will also showcase Live the semi-finals and finals of the ICC Women’s World Twenty20 2009.
In a prepared statement, 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 this time again as the defending champions, India take on the best of T20 talent from all over the world.”
He further said, “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.”