New Delhi: The cancellation of the seventh India-Australia one day cricket match on Wednesday evening due to heavy rains in Mumbai comes as a dampener for advertisers that bet big on the series after the initial matches attracted strong television viewership.
Sponsors such as Samsung India Electronics Pvt. Ltd, Hero Honda Motors Ltd, Tata Docomo, the GSM brand of Tata Teleservices Ltd, Gillette India Ltd, Perfetti Van Melle India Pvt. Ltd and Bharti Airtel Ltd’s direct to home service Airtel Digital TV paid advertising rates in excess of Rs3 lakh for a 10-second spot on broadcaster Neo Sports Broadcast Pvt. Ltd’s Neo Cricket channel, which was more than double the amount advertisers shelled out for big-ticket tournaments such as the International Cricket Council’s Champions Trophy and the Champions League that aired on ESPN this season.
Further, the last match received a “greater demand” with more than 90% of the inventory was sold out, said Abhishek Verma, head, marketing and communication at the Neo network. A senior executive from a media-buying agency added that the network was making the most of the revival in advertising spends by charging a 33% premium for spot buys on the channel for the Wednesday match.
However with the rains washing out all plans, the network now plans to reimburse advertisers with additional airtime on other cricket events to be telecast on its channel. “Our advertisers haven't bought spots for just one day, but for the entire series, so the time lost here will be adjusted with the Sri Lanka series coming up or other cricket properties,” said Verma.
But advertisers don't share Verma’s optimism. “It is an opportunity loss for sponsors, especially given the strong response the series elicited from viewers,” said a spokesperson for Samsung, a prominent advertiser during the series for both on-air and on-ground sponsorships.
The viewer response to the India-Australia series did indeed revive cricket spending after television ratings picked up for the first time this year since the second edition of the Indian Premier League concluded in May, despite an overcrowded cricket calendar.
The average television ratings of the six matches played so far in the India-Australia series is 1.8% on Neo Cricket and 3.4% on state-owned Prasar Bharti’s Doordarshan channel, according to Audience Measurement and Analytics Ltd (aMap), an overnight television viewership measurement agency.