New Delhi: With bilateral cricket ties between India and Pakistan unlikely to resume soon, the excitement around the ICC World Cup’s league match between the two subcontinental rivals on 16 June has reached fever pitch.
And Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the tournament, is milking the hype around it. The channel, which has sold most of its ad inventory for the match, is now charging more than 50% premium for booking last-minute ad spots.
With about 5,500 seconds of total inventory, Star is expected to generate as much as ₹100 crore from the India-Pakistan match alone, according to two media buyers, requesting anonymity.
The ad rates have surged to ₹25 lakh for a 10-second slot, according to media buyers. This is way more than the ₹16-18 lakh per 10 seconds that Star is charging for bundled packages (including television and Hotstar) for other matches involving India.
While other matches involving India will also have high viewership in the country, nothing can compare with Sunday’s World Cup match at Old Trafford, where India will take on Pakistan for the first time after nine months, resuming their long rivalry. India last played Pakistan in the Asia Cup in September last year.
“The inventory on World Cup was being sold as packages, which included all matches (India and non-India) customized as per brand requirements/outlays available. There may not be a whole lot of inventory available to be sold on India-Pakistan matches and whatever little unsold inventory that is left may go at 40- 50% hike on the current rates," said Vinita Pachisia, senior vice-president at Carat India, a Dentsu Aegis Network-owned media agency.
The upcoming match has already sparked online sparring, with companies from both countries rolling out promotional campaigns, taking a dig at each other. Star Sports has been running a high-octane “Mauka Mauka" campaign that has gone viral. Laden with cheeky humour, the television ad features an Indian fan, in a not-so-subtle reference to subcontinental power play, describing himself as Pakistan’s “abbu" or father. Responding to Star’s ad, Pakistani channel Jazz TV’s spot features a character impersonating Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman while reiterating that the World Cup trophy belongs to them.
“I believe that the positive India sentiment among fans since the country has been on a winning spree is driving viewership in the World Cup. The advertising potential solely depends on the performance of India," said Sandeep Goyal, chairman of Mogae Media, a Mumbai-based marketing and communication agency.
Star has signed more than 40 top advertisers for the tournament, including big brands such as PhonePe, OnePlus, Havells, Amazon, Dream11, MRF Tyres, Coca-Cola, Uber and Mondelez.
“While there will definitely be more eyeballs and more impact for this match compared to the other matches, the RoI (return on investment) may not be as effective as the rates are much higher than the usual rates on any India series," added Carat’s Pachisia.