India's exit from T20 may hit premium for spot ads

<img border='0' align='left' title=' ' src='' class='caption'> Cricket India has been shocked by the team's ouster from World T20, and the ad world appears to have become its casualty.

Updated: June 15, 2009 13:09 IST
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New Delhi:

Cricket India has been shocked by the team's ouster from World T20, and the ad world appears to have become its casualty as Corporate India is not expected to line up for spot slots for the semi-finals and the final, which normally command up to 50 per cent premium.

Sponsorship and advertising for World T20 was pegged at close to Rs 1,200 crore but India's early exit could cause a huge loss to both the advertisers as well as brodcasters, especially on the spot slots.

According to industry sources, airtime of 10 seconds costs Rs 4.5-5 lakh but India's berth in the semis and/or final could command a premium of as high as 50 per cent on it for spot buying. Sponsorship is, however, for a longer term and the business runs into multi-million dollars.

"When an Indian team is playing a match in a global tournament like this and doesn't reach the semi-final or finals stage, the advertisers are deprived of high viewership. From a channel's perspective, they get deprived of charging a premium on the cream inventory," said Tarun Nigam, Executive Director of media agency Starcom.

Starcom has clients like Aircel and Samsung, who are big advertisers for World T20.

ESPN-Star, which has the telecast rights for World T20, declined to comment whether it anticipates a drop in the spot ad rates in the semi-finals and final following India's exit.

"No comments," said R C Venkatesh, Managing Director of ESPN-Star (India).

Nokia, Reliance Communications, Aircel, LG, Samsung, Maruti Hero Honda and Pepsi are some of the major sponsors and/or leading advertisers for the T20 series. Some companies invest simultaneously in advertising and sponsorship and others focus mainly on buying airtime.

LG's Marketing Head LK Gupta said as a sponsor the company had done a lot and leveraged the investments. He, however, said that his firm had not bought any major airtime.

On the other hand, Vivek Bharti, spokesperson of Pepsi, which had invested both as a sponsor and advertiser, said, "We are disappointed, but our partnership with the ICC is a long-term one and we remain fully committed to that."

An Aircel spokesperson said the association continues with T20 as it was.

A Nokia spokesperson said that the firm is not decreasing ad spend on T20 following India's exit, while a spokesperson of Reliance communications, a major sponsor, declined to comment.

A Maruti spokesperson said that the company would go ahead with its commitment. "This format has a strong viewership even without the Indian team," he said.

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