India-Pak match ad rates estimated at Rs 25 lakh per spot: Is it viable for marketers?

Media planners have estimated ad rates for the most awaited India-Pak World Cup match at Rs 25 lakh per spot. Are marketers taking the bait?

e4m by Collin Furtado
Published: Feb 13, 2015 8:41 AM  | 4 min read
India-Pak match ad rates estimated at Rs 25 lakh per spot: Is it viable for marketers?

Cricket enthusiasts and the global media are waiting eagerly for team India and Pakistan to clash on the World Cup pitch this Sunday. The match has brought in a lot of excitement from brands as well.

According to recent media reports, media planners have estimated ad rates for the most awaited India-Pak World Cup match at Rs 25 lakh per spot. This means Rs 75 lakh for a 30-second spot. Only English and HD feed is expected to cost advertisers Rs 16-18 lakh per 10 seconds.

Such ad rates were seen only during the semi-finals and finals of the World Cup in 2011. The India-Pakistan match during the semi-finals went for Rs 20 lakh per 10-second spot, while it was Rs 25 lakh for the same span in the final match between India and Sri Lanka.  

A Star India spokesperson has reportedly said that 70 brands, including some regional ones and first-time advertisers, have booked slots for the India-Pakistan tournament. This is 50 per cent more than the 2011 World Cup finals.

According to media reports, at least 50 of these brands are sponsors and 20 spot buyers. Of these 20, it has been reported that around five are one-time buyers. However, there has been no mention of the brands that are one-time spot buyers.

A total of 33 brands will sponsor the ICC World Cup 2015. The new sponsors on board include Sony, Airtel,, Hero MotoCorp, Karbonn, Fevi Kwik,, MRF Tyres, Amul,, iBall, Lloyd, Philips Pro-skin Trimmer, Volini Spray, Britannia 50-50, Vodafone, Sparx, DIU,, Layers Shot, Livguard, Endura Mass, Set Wet, Hercules Roadeo, Polycab and FedEx. The earlier brands that have been signed for the mega sports event are Maruti, Nestle,, Paytm, Pidilite, Marico and Raymonds.

These are sponsors for the entire tournament and not spot buyers for only the India-Pakistan match. Hence, it means that these brands would not be paying Rs 25 lakh per 10-second spot premium ad rate and would pay on the basis of the whole tournament.

However, we did not receive a comment from Star India at the time of filing this report.

This brings to question if the India vs. Pakistan match is such an important property that brands are willing to invest on. Many media planners and marketers feel that the rates are “too high”.

“I don’t know if it is a good spot at that kind of a price, which I am not sure of. But the India vs. Pakistan match always goes on a higher advertising rate per second, which is always the case particularly because it is a World Cup match. It is the first India match and entire country will be watching it. But if Rs 25 lakh (per 10-second) is worth the spot buy, I am not sure. That is for the advertiser to decide,” said Harish Shriyan, COO, OMD.

Another media planner, on the condition of anonymity, said he was sceptical about the ad rates. According to him, brands buying at these rates are remote, unless there is some requirement for a brand and it is willing to take this kind of a risk.

So are marketers willing to take the risk? Several marketers feel that the rates are too high even for the India vs. Pakistan match and brands could get similar reach and viewership by investing in other properties.

Sanjay Tripathy, SVP, Head-Marketing, Product, Digital and e-commerce at HDFC Life, does not think it is good investment option for marketers at that rate despite it being an India vs. Pakistan match. “You will get opportunities to reach similar audience at a cheaper cost,” he said.

Similarly, Anisha Motwani, Director-Marketing at Max Life Insurance, said, “It does not matter (if it is an India vs. Pakistan match). There is something called value for the rupee spent. I can get the same amount of ratings that an India vs. Pakistan match fetches through a combination of a ‘Comedy Nights with Kapil’ or some other property. I might still manage to get the same deliverables by a combination of other choices of media. With cricket fatigue and saturation happening in India and the form in which the team is in, it is certainly not worth it. There are much better alternatives available to get the same kind of eyeballs, reach and deliveries. Gone are the days when cricket used to be the impact property.”

Saumya Chaudhuri, GM of IDBI Bank, echoed similar sentiments.

Amit Tiwari, Director and Country Head-Media, Philips India, says, “It is too much of an investment. What is the objective that you want to achieve (by investing on the property)? If you look at the larger canvas, it is definitely worth investing as a proposition in the arena and genre of sports. But if you look primarily from the entire proposition, which is only spending on one particular game, I don’t think you are able to justify the buy and why you are making this investment for.”

Highlighting that there will be a group of advertisers who will not be interested due to the ROI factor, Mayank Shah, Deputy Marketing Manager at Parle Products, said, “There would be another group of advertisers who would look at it because they would want a sure-shot delivery. Being an India vs. Pakistan game and that it is going to deliver even if it means higher ad rates for 10 seconds, they would still put their money on it,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court’s stay on a Delhi court’s ruling allows Doordarshan to carry live feed of the match. This is being seen as a way for advertisers to find a cheaper option to advertise. However, media planners do not see this as affecting the viewership of Star Sports as the national channel might have the reach but it doesn’t bring in a lot of viewership. They feel advertisers, looking at targeting rural markets, can definitely see this as an attractive option of advertising on the match at much cheaper rates. 


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