At least seven group-stage matches in ICC World Cup have been affected by rains
At least seven group-stage matches in ICC World Cup have been affected by rains

ICC cricket World Cup: Sponsors keep the faith even as rains play spoilsport

  • Brands such as Star Sports, Coca-Cola, GoDaddy, Bira 91, Emirates, Hublot and Britannia are ICC’s partners in this edition of the world cup
  • Rain-affected matches could cost brands associated with the tournament dearly as they lose out on advertisement space and time

"Unlike the weather, you can depend on us for cheap prices," reads a billboard advertisement for ASDA, a British supermarket retailer, near the Heathrow international airport in London.

The advertisement is an interesting take on how unpredictable the weather can be in England, especially during summers.

At least seven group-stage matches in the ongoing International Cricket Council (ICC) World Cup in England and Wales have been affected—with play abandoned or the number of overs curtailed—as rains play spoilsport.

Rain-affected matches could cost brands associated with the tournament dearly as they lose out on advertisement space and time.

However, if top officials of the ICC are to be believed, no sponsor has expressed disappointment over the rain-hit matches.

"All the feedback that we are getting is that the brands that have partnered us are exceptionally happy with what’s taken place so far and their engagements with audiences. So that explains," Campbell Jamieson, general manager-commercial, ICC, said during an interaction with journalists in Nottingham, where a match between India and New Zealand was abandoned.

Brands such as Star Sports, Coca-Cola, GoDaddy, Bira 91, Emirates, Hublot and Britannia are ICC’s partners in this edition of the world cup.

"ICC has never ever had reserve days outside of knockout final games," Jamieson said, adding that the world cup would have to be extended by at least a month if reserve days were added for group-stage matches, and that this isn't feasible.

The sponsors, meanwhile, say they are more concerned for the fans who miss out on the excitement of seeing their favourite teams play in the tournament.

"Forget about us sponsors, and think about the cricket fan, who is all excited to watch his or her favourite team play in the world cup, but goes home dejected after the match they have come to watch with so much hope is abandoned," said a senior communications official at Coca-Cola, a global sponsor of the world cup, adding that a potential hit on return on investments due to the rains cannot be ruled out.

Brands such as Coca-Cola and others are running a number of promotional campaigns during the tournament that offer a range of prizes--from cash-backs on orders to tickets to the finals of the world cup.

According to ICC rules, if play is restricted or does not take place at the venue on the day for which a ticket is valid, including any reserve day, the ticket purchaser may claim a refund of the original sale price of that ticket, excluding fees.

Fans can get a full refund if less than 15 overs were played because of adverse weather conditions. A 50% refund is applicable for games that are restricted to between 15.1 overs and 29.5 overs because of rough weather.

If the tickets for such abandoned or curtailed matches are purchased from the official ICC Men's Cricket World Cup 2019 ticketing website, the refund will be issued automatically within 28 days to the card used to buy the tickets, says ICC.

Francis Bernard, a banker from Australia and a die-hard fan of the Indian cricket team who traveled from Melbourne to watch the India versus Pakistan match--one of the most eagerly anticipated games of the tournament--at Manchester last week, said he had bought the tickets for the match during presale for £70 (around 6,200 today).

“The rain gods were merciful on the day and we had a good day’s game," Bernard said.

The rains and wet grounds have also been affecting crucial practice schedules of various teams ahead of crunch games as entire net sessions are being abandoned.

Meanwhile, it’s not just the fans, teams and sponsors who are affected by the rough weather and washed-out matches.

Christeen Sheath, an elderly member of the Nottinghamshire County Cricket Club and a volunteer at the Trent Bridge stadium, said it is disappointing for the hosts to see fans, especially those who have travelled from afar, dejected after they miss out on a match due to the rains.

“Fans, especially from India, spend so much of time, money and effort to come here to watch and enjoy a game of cricket. It is extremely disappointing for us to see them go out of the stadium dejected after a washout," Sheath, who was volunteering for the India versus New Zealand match that got washed out at Trent Bridge last week, said.

Sheath says India and Sri Lanka, which beat hosts England by 20 runs in a do-or-die match on Friday, are her favourite teams and that she is hoping to see them in the finals at Lord’s on 14 July.

The writer was in England at the invitation of Coca-Cola India.

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