Neo Sports has had a tough run on its distribution front, which was evident in the TRPs of the India-Australia cricket series, where compared to DD, Neo Sports showed very less numbers for the matches. However, the channel has had an interesting run for the forthcoming India-Pakistan cricket series, and has managed to line up four co-presenting sponsors, six associate sponsors and one action replay sponsor.
The series starts on November 5, 2007 and is spread across five ODIs and three Test matches, ending in December 2007.
For the record, Indian Oil Corporation is the title sponsor of the Indo-Pak series. BCCI had invited a bid for ground rights a fortnight before the India-Australia series and the World Sport Group had won that bid. Following this, IOC signed with World Sport Group to be the title sponsor for the ODI matches. Others, such as INX Media, are on-ground sponsors of the series.
Reliance Communications, Pidilite, the Future Group and Nokia are the co-presenting sponsors. Of this, the Future Group is also an anchor partner of Neo Sports. The associate sponsors are LG, S Kumar’s, 9X, UltraTech, Perfetti Van Melle and Hero Honda. Of these, Perfetti and Hero Honda are also the anchor partners for the channel. Gujarat Ambuja is the action replay sponsor.
Sunil Manocha, Senior VP, Advertising Revenues for Neo Sports, divulged that the co-presenting sponsors had each paid between Rs 17 crore and Rs 20 crore, while the associate sponsors had paid between Rs 9 crore and Rs 12 crore. He added, “We have already completely sold out the ODI matches of the series and 70 per cent of the Test matches, and we have clocked in revenues of Rs 232 crore already. We are sure that the balance 30 per cent of the Test matches would get us around Rs 18 crore.”
Manocha further said, “You always feel you could’ve done more, even though Rs 250 crore isn’t a simple target. This is a very exciting series, and we can only imagine the buzz around these matches. We are very happy with the revenues that we have managed for this series.”
Neo Sports has worked on tying the distribution for the channel for these series. The channel’s Distribution Head, Arun Poddar, informed that one of the key steps was tying up with Hathway, wherein Neo Sports was already in advanced stages of negotiation with the operator.
He said, “Post the India-Australia series, and on the back of this series, many MSOs and cable operators have come on board with us. We have also launched a rural scheme to target the rural networks and the interiors. This would give us the reach that we are looking at.”
The India-Pakistan series is a big draw in the year. Neo Sports officials informed that the Rs 250 crore figures broke various revenue records.