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New Delhi: State-run broadcaster Doordarshan (DD) may earn as much as 20 crore in advertising revenue during the telecast of the London Olympics between 27 July and 12 August, thanks to the support of government departments and public sector units, including banks.

“There is greater interest from government agencies after the Commonwealth Games", which were held in Delhi in October 2010, said Vijayalaxmi Chhabra, additional director general, DD.

Her ad revenue expectation exceeds the estimate of some media buyers, who say the broadcasts won’t generate more than 15-20 crore for both DD and ESPN Star Sports—the other rights holder for India—together.

Warming up: A hockey training session at the Olympic hockey venue in Stratford, east London. Photo: Andrew Winning/Reuters

The event won’t generate anywhere near the response that cricket gets, but interest is higher than in previous years, Chhabra said. This time, there are serious medal prospects in the Indian contingent, including Mary Kom, Vijender Singh, Vikas Krishan (boxing), Deepika Kumari (archery), Abhinav Bindra, Gagan Narang, Ronjan Sodhi (shooting), Yogeshwar Dutt and Sushil Kumar (wrestling).

DD’s event sponsors include the department of consumer affairs, Life Insurance Corp. of India (LIC), Indian Oil Corp. Ltd (IOC) and Oil and Natural Gas Corp. Ltd (ONGC). It has also finalized a sponsorship deal with two-wheeler maker Hero MotoCorp Ltd.

Sudhir Vasudeva, chairman and managing director, ONGC, confirmed that ONGC is in talks with DD for airing its spots.

“We are the principal sponsors of the Indian Olympic contingent and are planning an advertising campaign around it. We are also taking some spots at airports. These activities are aimed towards ONGC’s brand building. We contribute around 30 crore annually towards sports activities and plan to use the Olympics logo on our letterhead," he said.

A Hero MotoCorp official confirmed the deal on condition of anonymity. A senior IOC executive said on condition of anonymity: “DD may have sent something but nothing has been discussed. We aren’t doing much around the Olympics theme." An official in the department of consumer affairs said they have sponsorship tie-ups with DD but did not specify programmes. LIC could not be reached for comments.

The channel is still negotiating deals with the ministries of human resource development and tourism, Chhabra said. In the past, DD generated advertising revenue of 6 crore each from the 2000 Sydney and 2004 Athens Games. It rose to 7.5 crore for the 2008 Beijing Olympics. It got 80 crore revenue from the Delhi Commonwealth Games.

The broadcaster has paid $4 million as broadcasting rights fee for telecasting both the 2010 winter Games in Vancouver and the London Games in a collaborative deal that was finalized in January 2008 with the Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union (ABU)—a non-profit, non-government, professional association that handles global sporting events for free-to-air, satellite, terrestrial and direct-to-home platforms.

DD Sports, DD’s sports channel, will telecast the event live, starting with the opening ceremony at 1am local time on 28 July. The channel will have 14 hours of programming every day with live coverage of hockey, swimming, archery, boxing and badminton among others from 12.30pm onwards.

DD National, DD’s flagship channel, will focus on India-specific coverage, including a half-hour capsule dedicated to this at 7.30am and a one-hour highlights programme at 9am.

ESPN Star Sports will have programming on ESPN, Star Sports and ESPN HD.

“ESPN will be more India-specific and will showcase sports featuring Indian athletes and those sports which are more popular in India such as hockey, shooting, boxing, wrestling, tennis, football etc., while Star Sports will focus on international top athletes and events beyond the?Asia?contingent,"?said Rathindra Basu, senior director, business development, corporate communications and event management?group,?ESPN,?which has the television rights for 22 countries across the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

Advertising inventory for the event is still open, and deals are still being negotiated, said Thappa of Mindshare. Globally, brands such as Coca Cola, McDonald’s and Samsung have been associated with the event.

Samsung’s association with the Olympics began almost 25 years ago when it was a sponsor of the 1988 Seoul Games. In April 2007, Samsung extended its tie up with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) till 2016.

“Sports are unique; their ability to unify people of all ages, races and genders is second to none. Samsung’s corporate agenda remains committed to sport and the power that it has to connect citizens of the world," said Rahul Saighal, chief marketing officer, Samsung India.

Rudraneil Sengupta and Utpal Bhaskar contributed to this story.

vidhi.c@livemint.com

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