Star India eyes over Rs300 crore as ad revenue from World T20

Main sponsors such as Flipkart, Nissan and Oppo are shelling out Rs.25 crore for air time, according to estimates


With Team India on a winning spree, TV viewership is expected to be high during the World T20. Photo: AP
With Team India on a winning spree, TV viewership is expected to be high during the World T20. Photo: AP

New Delhi: The ICC World Twenty20 cricket championship, which starts in India on Tuesday, promises to be a money-spinner for official broadcaster Star India Pvt. Ltd.

The television network is estimated to make more than Rs.300 crore between 8 March and 3 April from the 19 associate sponsors, co-presenting sponsors and commercial partners. One of the 19 sponsors is Star’s in-house digital brand Hotstar.

According to estimates from media buyers at leading advertising agencies, the presenting sponsors are shelling out Rs.25 crore each. Star India has four of them, including e-commerce firm Flipkart, Japanese auto maker Nissan Motors India Pvt. Ltd and Chinese smartphone maker OPPO. Each of them will get about 125 seconds of air time per match. The eight associate sponsors are paying between Rs.15 crore and Rs.20 crore each.

Among them are snack brand Kurkure by PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd and chocolate brand Cadbury’s Dairy Milk, which will each get about 80-100 seconds of air time per match.

“This T20 World Cup, to my mind, has already done well for Star India. They are completely sold out. The fact that the tournament is in the subcontinent will make for prime-time viewership. Besides, the Indian team is on a roll, which makes its timing perfect,” said Mallikarjun Das, chief executive at media buying firm Starcom MediaVest.

Sam Balsara, chairman and managing director of Madison World, the largest independent media company in the country, agreed: “Whenever India is on a winning spree or is expected to win, the interest in watching the game is very high, leading to high ratings and high advertiser interest. This time also, it should be no different.”

The Indian team led by M.S. Dhoni will enter the World T20 as Asia Cup champions and at the top of the table for the ICC T20 rankings. India beat Bangladesh in the final of the Asia Cup T20 tournament on Sunday.

The stakes are very high, says Sanjay Gupta, chief operating officer of Star India. “Viewership for cricket in 2016 took off on a high with the Paytm India vs Sri Lanka series breaking a four-year viewership record,” he said, adding that nothing delivers both scale and impact like cricket with more than 100 million viewers aggregated over a three-hour T20 match.

He said the popularity has only grown with the advent of multiple screens, especially “with Hotstar now emerging as a significant source of viewership and becoming the primary screen for an increasing number of consumers in metros”.

The Men in Blue have beaten Australia in Australia and Sri Lanka in India. “Indian fans can expect a thoroughly enriched and immersive viewing experience this World T20 season with innovations that will light up across multiple screens,” Gupta said in an emailed response.

With viewership in excess of 100 million guaranteed, the World T20 will help brands associating with the property to strengthen their national presence. For instance, Nissan has spent close to Rs.30 crore to act as on-air sponsor as well as commercial partner for the World T20 in a bid to“build its brand”, said an official from the company on condition of anonymity.

Latching on to the popularity of the cricket tournament, Nissan will also spend an additional Rs.25 crore across other media.

“The association is one of the most important sport TV sponsorship for OPPO India this year,” said Sky Li, vice-president, OPPO Mobiles, managing director (international mobile business) and president of OPPO India. “The deal includes exposure during television broadcast and related TV shows. We want to showcase our passion and support for the game through a series of online and offline campaigns featuring OPPO’s selfie expert camera phone to bring a new experience combining OPPO camera phone with cricket.”

In October 2014, Star India and Star Middle East were jointly awarded audio-visual rights for events organized by the International Cricket Council (ICC) for a eight-year period between 2015 and 2023, during which two World Cups and two World T20 tournaments are to be held.

Currently, Star India also has the broadcast and digital rights for all cricket played in India through a separate deal with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), for which it agreed to pay Rs.3,851 crore in 2012. The deal gave it exclusive media rights to cricket matches organized by the BCCI until 2018.

The rights cover all international matches played in India and domestic tournaments, including the Ranji Trophy and the Irani Cup. In all, Star has the exclusive rights for 96 matches, including updates on the Internet and mobile phones.