The month-long crisis over the ICC sponsorship issue blew over with the BCCI deciding to send its top players led by Saurav Ganguly to the Champions Trophy in Sri Lanka. The dramatic declaration by BCCI President Jagmohan Dalmiya came yesterday, after ICC agreed to bear all the expenses that may arise out of legal complications flowing from the controversial contract that barred players from advertising for companies that have a clash of interest with the official sponsors.
Already three of the ICC's sponsors Hero Honda, LG and Pepsi had assured the board that none of the Indian players would be used for imaging. South African Airlines, another ICC sponsor, had also made it clear that it had no intentions to use Indian players for its commercial shoots.
The positive development must have come as a major relief to MAX, SET India's movies, cricket and events channel, as it is going to air live the ICC Champions Trophy beginning September 12. The channel yesterday announced its programming package and initiatives branded Extraaa Innings revolving around its new positioning Deewana Bana De.
Rajat Jain, Executive Vice President and Business Head, MAX, claimed that MAX will change the way viewers experience cricket since the whole gamut of programming will cater to the cricket fan and provide entertainment and information for non-cricket audiences. He said, "Extraaa Innings is based on the wrap-around programming that we have created for every kind of viewer and cricket fans combining the best of cricket and cinema. It will begin two hours before the live match begins and will continue one hour after the match."
The typical pre-match programming will begin with Ruby Bhatia, Charu Sharma and a special Lagaan character doing a lead-in to a discussion on the game of the day. "Our commentators includes brilliant cricketers such as Tony Greig, Barry Richards, Sanjay Manjrekar, Robin Singh, Ravi Shastri, Ian Bishop, Roshan Mahanama and Jeff Thompson. MAX Brand Ambassador Kapil Dev, Arjuna Ranatunga and K Srikanth will provide expert views on every match," Jain further added.
MAX provides a whole array of advertising opportunity as the ad sales package offers the highlights from each game, Weather Report, Master Blaster, Super Fours, Super Sixes, Fall of Wickets, Safe Hands, Pitch Report, Toss Report, Great Saves, Close Shaves, Turning Point, and Q&As etc. For the viewers, there is an interactive game Predikta that will give viewers in 26 million homes an opportunity to win prizes everyday by SMS.