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World Cup Football: Clearing picture

30-May-2002
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World Cup Football: Clearing picture

With a day left for the FIFA Soccer World Cup, enthusiasm is picking up. After some chaos over the telecast rights, with B4U lobbying for the telecast of the series on DD, and TEN Sports claiming a surge in connectivity to reach 18 million homes, soccer lovers and advertisers may finally have some reason to celebrate.

Lets look at the World Cup Football, to be kicked off tomorrow, from the advertiser’s perspective. Some large advertisers have signed on with the twin objectives of 'exposure' and 'association' with premium sporting event.

Car major Hyundai has bought significant volumes. Citing not such an attractive buy as the reason, Maruit has decided to stay away. Says a spokesperson in Maruti, “There are too many players buying spots. Apart from the clutter, TEN Sports is asking for a premium. Since the series would be aired in the afternoon, it would not even get a fair share of viewership.”

While some consumer durable companies like Akai see opportunity and have put in their monies in the event, there are others who are still apprehensive.

Take LG and Samsung, in past, both have been associating themselves with sports. But this time it’s a different story for them. Says C. M. Singh, National Head, Consumer Electronics, LG, “We still haven’t received any proposal from TEN Sports. We obviously can’t buy without knowing enough!”

Samsung, on the other hand is still evaluating its media strategy, and is still unsure of its decision to invest in the grand event. As far as the FMCG sector goes, the some major players like Coke and Pepsi have already placed their bets on the World Cup.

Although advertisers have a mixed opinion for the World Cup, and the media planners are viewing it objectively and using it only if it suits their brands. Says Hiren Pandit, GM, Mindshare “There is substantial hype for the World Cup. We have bought spots for 4 brands, whose names I would not like to mention at this time. The maximum number of spots have been bought for the weekends and the repeat telecasts, where we expect a higher viewership.”

Ten Sports seems pretty happy with the overall response. Infact latest developments suggest that its penetration across India stood at 18 million homes, with some increase expected in the next two days. They have signed up with RPG Netcom in Kolkata, Asianet in Kerala and Hathway in Bangalore and Chennai yesterday. With these systems signing on, the national networks of Hathway, Win Cable and Siticable have started showing TEN Sports except for a few isolated pockets, which are expected to sign up in the next 24 hours.

Chris McDonald, Chief Executive, Taj Television, parent of TEN Sports, said: "I am very pleased to see these significant increases in distribution, and especially happy to welcome RPG in Kolkata, Asianet throughout Kerala and Hathway in Bangalore and Chennai to our rapidly growing TEN Sports family."

So while Ten Sports may not have kicked a winning goal yet, given the short time to put the act together, it certainly is in a striking distance.

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