NEW DELHI: It’s shaping up to be a great year for Star India.

After a blockbuster Indian Premier League season, when it generated advertising revenues worth 2,500 crore, the nation’s biggest broadcaster is set for another windfall this summer with the cricket World Cup—that is, if the Indian team does not disappoint fans.

As the official broadcaster, Star India is looking to leverage the popularity of ICC Cricket World Cup, a once-in-four-years event, that is set to start in London on Thursday.

Star India has already sold 80% of its advertisement inventory for the World Cup, signing up more than 40 top advertisers, including PhonePe, OnePlus, Havells, Amazon, Dream11, MRF Tyres, Coca-Cola, Uber, Mondelez, Oppo, Philips , Ceat Tyres and ICICI Lombard, according to the broadcaster.

The broadcaster is expected to generate between 1,200 crore and 1,500 crore through television advertising and an additional 300 crore on its video streaming platform Hotstar, according to estimates by media buyers.

These estimates are more than double the 700 crore revenue that Star had booked in the 2015 World Cup, a Moneycontrol.com report said.

Several factors are working in Star’s favour this year. The match timings in England are in tune with Indian television viewing time and most of India’s games are falling on weekends, when viewership is expected to soar, further fuelling ad revenues. “I believe ICC has been smart enough to realize that 90% of the cricket market is in India and the scheduling of matches reflects that," said Indranil Das Blah, chief executive of Kwan Sports.

This year, Hotstar has opened an additional stream of ad revenue, with Star India pushing bundled ad deals, including both television and digital platforms. In 2015, Hotstar streamed the World Cup matches but didn’t monetize it by selling ads.

“A vast majority of the inventory has already been sold. Since it’s a once-in-four-years big cricket property, selling the remaining ad slots once the tournament begins, will not be difficult," Gautam Thakar, chief executive of Star Sports.

Media experts said Star’s fortunes would depend on Team India’s performance. “Certainly, the ad rates have gone up from the last World Cup, but much is dependent on the Indian team’s performance," said Sandeep Goyal, chairman of Mogae Media, a Mumbai-based marketing and communication agency. “If India continues to do well, the demand and prices of residual advertising inventory will skyrocket."

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