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Cricket set to rock ad world again

05-November-2005
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Cricket set to rock ad world again

Ad rates for next series may go up by 10% on 4-0 lead against Sri Lanka.

A few weeks ago, Zee group chief Subhash Chandra had made a cavalier statement, saying he was no longer interested in cricket. The Indian team had fared poorly in Sri Lanka, and he was no longer willing to put his money on cricket. It will be nice to know if Chandra is now having second thoughts.

The Indian cricket team's transformation into a winning squad, as evidenced in the 4-0 scoreline against Sri Lanka, is promising to change the rules of the game, the ones that broadcasters and advertisers play.

Already, Prasar Bharti executives are saying that Doordarshan is going to rake in considerably more revenue than the original estimate of Rs 120 crore from the current seven-match one-day home series against Sri Lanka.

Even though the series has been already decided, the increased interest in the game, combined with an eagerness to see if this will be a 7-0 whitewash, can push up the rates for advertising spots. Doordarshan's support in this will be the unsold spots. Typically, a broadcaster keeps 15 per cent of the 150-odd spots for a game to be sold at later stages.

“The ad rates will not dip for the current series. Who does not like to see India winning? The rates can go up by 10 per cent from the next series,” says Ashutosh Khanna, chief operating officer, Grey Worldwide.

If the team can retain form, Sony Entertainment Televi-sion, which has broadcasting rights for the next edition of the Cricket World Cup, can expect a bonanza and earn much more than its earnings from the last world cup for which the ad rate was $7,000 for 10 seconds.

Interestingly, as India's performance had improved during the last world cup, the rates had gone up seven times through the course of the tournament.

'The next series will be approached with a lot of bullishness. Consistent performance by the team will definitely mean more brands investing more on television,' says Sandeep Vij, president, Optimum Media Solutions.

But will a revival of the game's fortune translate into more lucre for players? 'For now, those who have invested in cricket will be heaving a sigh of relief,' says Percept Holdings' Joint Managing Director Shailendra Singh.

Everyone agrees that Mahendra Singh Dhoni, as an endorser, can pack as much wallop as he does for his lofted on-drive. However, Team India's young Turks may have to perform for a longer period to match the marketability of established stars.

'With this series, you have a young breed of cricketers available at more affordable rates. If Dhoni continues to do well for another six months or a year, he can ask for an endorsement fee equaling that of, say, Yuvraj Singh,' says Khanna of Grey.

Says Suhel Seth, CEO, Equus Red Cell, 'Cricketers like Rahul Dravid, Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ajit Agarkar can see a substantial increase in endorsement offers. This being the mid-festival time means it is good to sign cricketers on as endorsers.'

The course that Sourav Ganguly's career takes is also being watched with interest. 'Advertisers are on a standby, waiting to see what happens to his career,' says Singh, whose company manages Ganguly.

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