Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20), which is an international T20 cricket competition between top club teams from countries such as India, Australia, England, South Africa, Sri Lanka, New Zealand and West Indies, has seen a drop in its opening ratings, when compared to last year.
ESPN Star Sports is the official broadcaster of the series, and CLT20 is being telecast both on ESPN and Star Cricket in English and Hindi commentaries. Last year, for the C&S 4+ in the all India market, according to data from TAM Media Research, many of the matches, including the opening matches, fared 2+ TVR. In comparison, this year CLT20 matches have stayed well under 2 TVR.
While for many, CLT20 has faced challenges in establishing itself as a property in the first place, 2011 seems to be CLT20’s weakest year. ESPN Star Sports had focussed in marketing the series, and had roped in actor Shah Rukh Khan as the face of CLT20 for Season 3. But for viewers, that has not made too much of a difference.
Dinesh Rathore, Vice President, MediaVest India explained, “ESPN has engaged Amitabh Bachchan and even Sachin Tendulkar in the past but that did not help creating any buzz for the series. Even this year, there was no hype around the series, even though there were four teams participating from India.” While Rathore admitted that the expectation per se from the series were not as high, he maintained that the numbers being lower than last year would question advertiser’s trust in the series in future years.
Nandini Dias, COO, Lodestar UM elaborated here, “The overall sentiment is very negative right now. India’s defeat against England in the NatWest series has left the viewers low on cricket and the economic environment around has further dampened spirits. Though the series has become interesting now, and there is some spark of interest, but I don’t think that would make too much difference beyond a point.”
Rathore observed that in all after the India-England debacle, people wanted a break from cricket per se. However, Dias informed that if the ‘revenge’ emotion was pushed for the forthcoming India-England series in India, and if India managed the opening matches, then the enthusiasm would be back. She also cautioned, “But if India loses a game there, then we would be further beaten.”
Nokia was the title sponsor of CLT20 Season 3. From an advertiser standpoint, so far the series has not delivered. Rathore said, “Finally, each advertiser has a different objective and much depends on the rates they have bought it on. It could also be an overall investment on ESPN and Star Cricket.”
Two India teams have made it to the semi-finals of CLT20. Chennai will host the semi-final and the final match, which is scheduled for October 9, 2011.