New Delhi: The first match of the Champions League cricket tournament scored an average television rating point (TRP) of 0.9% on ESPN Star Sports channel on 8 October, according to Audience Measurement and Analytics Ltd.
TRPs are the percentage of viewers watching a particular programme at a certain time.
Although the tournament still has 25 days to go, experts believe the poor start reflects flailing viewership response towards big-ticket cricket events on TV, with the exception of the Indian Premier League (IPL) that started on 18 April with 3.6% TRPs and averaged 3.4% for the tournament.
Compare this with two other world championships that took place this year. The International Cricket Council’s Twenty20 World Cup brought in a rating of 1.1% on the first day and averaged 2.1% for the tournament while the average viewership of the recently-concluded ICC Champions Trophy was also low.
But ESPN has not let television ratings curb its enthusiasm. A company spokesperson had earlier confirmed a Rs100 crore marketing budget to promote its cricket calendar.
A media buyer said nearly Rs40 crore is being spent on promoting the Champions League alone. “ESPN is going all out to aggressively market Champions League because it is trying to emulate the success achieved by IPL, which to a large extent was all about marketing rights,” said Ajit Varghese, managing director of Maxus, a media buying agency, which is part of WPP Group Plc’s media specialist company GroupM India Pvt. Ltd.
ESPN’s media buying agency said that with the overcrowding of the cricket calendar, most sports broadcasters are spending between 15-20% more on promotions compared to two years ago.