With India faring poorly on the field, cricket's lustre is also fast fading with advertisers and viewers. Compared to last year, ad rates are down by about Rs 2 lakh per ten seconds and television rating points (TRPs) have dropped by half.
On Monday, TOI had reported that no cricketer would feature among the sportspersons to be honoured with either Arjuna awards or Khel Ratnas this year.
Take the ad rates. While last year's India-Pakistan series crossed the Rs 4 lakh per ten second spot on Ten Sports, this year India-Pakistan matches were sold at Rs 2.5 lakh for ten seconds on the same channel. The just-concluded IndianOil Cup tri-series in Sri Lanka saw even lower rates-averaging between Rs 1.2 lakh to Rs 1.4 lakh per ten seconds.
The TRP story is equally telling. One-day matches at the April '05 India-Pakistan Pepsi Cup averaged ratings of 5.7 on DD1 across six metros. Compare this to ratings of July '04's India-Pakistan clash for the Asia Cup-ratings had touched 8.15 points.
And the India-Pakistan Samsung Cup in March last year had peaked at 15.32 on DD1, according to mediatracking agency TAM. “Expectations from the cricket team have not been met this year, so the demand for cricket has fallen,'' said Sandeep Vij, president at OMS, Mudra's media buying outfit.
Cricket ad rates set to drop, say experts
Ad revenues and television viewership are dropping for cricket. Giving his take, CVL Srinivas, MD at Maxus (a WPP group company), said: “The team's performance has not been up to the mark. Though rates are in proportion to the kind of tournament being played, the ad community won't support rates higher than this. These are peak rates.''
Industry experts say that while cricket airtime remains more expensive than any other sport, what also impacts prices is the tournament packaging, as in the case of the recent tri-series, which did not have either Sachin Tendulkar or Sourav Ganguly. “Ratings and ad rates depend on where the tournament is played, teams involved, whether the matches are being played on weekdays or weekends, and in vacation time,'' said Atul Phadnis, director at TAM.
The recent tri-series managed only about five new ads; the general benchmark is about 10-12. Media planners attributed the drop to the series being played in lean period. “Spend on durables pick up September onwards with the onset of the festive season. And cola companies like Coke haven't been focusing much on cricket,'' said Basabdatta Chowdhuri, COO at Madison Media.