MAX is busy getting the Blue Print for its Cricket properties in place. To increase the reach and marketability of Cricket, and its properties, a key element is to involve ''''non cricket audiences like housewives and young children''''.
To achieve this, the channel recently announced 1983 World Cup hero Kapil Dev as a brand ambassador for the network. Will Dev be able to convince these non-core audiences to tune in? Says a confident Rajat Jain, VP Max, "Kapil will assist Sony in every way to increase awareness about the World Cup telecast as well as increase viewer involvement for cricket fans and also non cricket audiences like housewives, young children etc. This is in line with our overall plans to make the ICC tournaments the most wonderful spectacle of sporting entertainment. A complete hungama of maximum entertainment for the entire family."
That perhaps is the first expression of how this World Cup Cricket, and in some ways Cricket as a game, will be positioned differently. This emblematic approach will have a significant bearing on programming and promotions of World Cup.
What specific role would Kapil Dev play apart form being the face of the event and channel. Jain believes that Dev will be a significant contributor. "Kapil Dev will be a crucial part of the team that will determine the programming and marketing initiatives being undertaken for the ICC Cricket tournaments. In addition to special World Cup programming for viewers and daily commentary and updates, Kapil Dev will also appear in the advertising, viewer and advertiser roadshows being planned by MAX."
As key executives at Sony and MAX are busy giving the finishing touches to the Blue Print of communication and programming, media planners and buyers are waiting in anticipation for the advertising packages to arrive. While MAX is not committing a date yet, the packages should be out soon. And Pricing? "This is the most premium event on Indian TV, so the rates will reflect the nature of the event. We''''re working on it, and will share this with the market when we''''re ready with our ad sales strategy," postures Jain.
Surely the association with World Cup doesn''''t come cheap. Digging our database tells us that for World Cup Cricket 99, each Associate Sponsorship (seven of them) was offered at USD 2 million and innovative ''''in programme'''' opportunity like ''''Replay Bug'''' was priced at USD 1 million. Given the astronomically higher acquisition cost this time around, the packages aren''''t going to be anywhere that mark. Ready to bargain?