Max is on a willow fever with the Holland Cup (better known as the Videocon Super Challenge 2004), scheduled in the picturesque Amsterdam and featuring the three leaders – India, Australia and Pakistan, coming close.
The India-Pakistan ODI is scheduled for August 21. Australia will take on India on August 23. Pakistan and Australia will meet each other on August 25. All three matches will begin at 1.30 pm IST. August 28 is the day of the grand finale. Temperature is soaring in India with yet another big day clocking close on Saturday, August 21, when the archrivals India and Pakistan will be face to face.
Says Tushar Shah, Vice President, Marketing – Max, “Cricket is almost a religion in India and Max has always brought the biggest and the best cricketing action for millions of cricket lovers in the country. I am sure that every cricket enthusiast in the country will look forward to the live telecast of all the matches. After all, the Videocon Cup Super Challenge 2004 will witness three of the world’s best cricket teams. The tournament marks the beginning of the cricket season on Max, after this, comes the ICC Champion’s Trophy England, starting September 10.”
Shah adds, “Videocon has come up as the title sponsor and the associate sponsors are Maruti, BPCL, Hero Honda, Asian Paints, LG, Indian Airlines and the Aditya Birla Group. As far as the packaging is concerned, we start the telecast of the Videocon Cup Super Challenge 2004 at 1.30 pm – half-an-hour before the action begins. We are stressing on viewer interactivity. There is Voice of India, which will give cricket fans an opportunity to voice their opinion on a cricket-related issue (in context of a particular match) and the idea is to stir the minds of cricket fans and help them voice their opinions.”
Dwelling on the different initiatives, the channel has adopted, he says, “Max will create an active viewing experience, where the fans can be a part of the process rather than a passive recipient of information.” The channel lists Charu Sharma, Barry Richards, Rameez Raja, Sanjay Manjrekar, Laxman Sivaramakrishnan and Arun Lal as the lead commentators. There are going to be high action packages, such as Master Blaster, Super Fours, Super Sixes, Classic catches, Fall of Wickets, Lion of the Day, Winning moment the Pitch and Weather reports.
With the flurry of cricket this season, isn’t the channel afraid that there would be certain amount of fatigue setting in amongst audiences? Shah asserts, “Certainly not. We consider that all the other cricket that’s been playing on other channels, is in fact a build up to the only two big ticket events remaining on the Indian calendar this year, namely Videocon Cup Super Challenge 2004 and ICC Champions Trophy England 2004. As I mentioned earlier, cricket in fact is a religion in this country. There can’t be any fatigue factor setting in.”
From the planner’s fraternity, it’s much the same vote. Harish Shriyan, Vice President, Mediacom asserts, “It’s big. And there are no two ways about it. The spotlight is closer to home, since it involves only three teams, India, Pakistan and Australia. Which explains, why 80% of the spots are already sold out, and there’s almost no space for new comers.
As for the fatigue factor setting in, nothing sells like cricket in this country. Brands may prefer staying off soaps for a while, but they certainly wouldn’t stay off cricket. The next big thing is ICC (World Cup) and this particular tournament is already sold out. On the whole, I would say that it’s a profitable season for Max.”
Srikanth Raman, Media Director, Mudra Communications is seen to have much the same opinion. Raman believes, “There can be nothing bigger than cricket in this country. More so, when it involves three teams that are closest to the Indian viewer’s heart. The kind of TRP’s that a match involving India, fares is 15 TVR or more. There are very few soaps that can command the same, maybe one ‘Kyunki’ or ‘Kahaani’. Therefore, cricket matches, are the saving grace for most brands.”
Max evidently has it made with the Videocon Cup. And the bubble is all set to shimmer a lot brighter, with the onset of the ICC Champions Trophy which perhaps commands the most attention, from the brand community.