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After an impressive win by Team India in the recently-concluded cricket test series against Australia, advertisers are queuing up for slots as India takes on visitors England for a two-month series, starting 5 February.

According to media buyers' estimates, official broadcaster Star India is expected to rake in 500 crore in ad revenues from television and Disney+Hotstar, the network's over-the-top video streaming platform. Star is selling 10-second ad slots for Rs7-8 lakh. So far, it has sold 80% of ODI and T20 inventory, besides 70% of Test match slots.

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The tournament, comprising three ODIs, five T20s and four Tests, is being hosted by India, with Chennai, Ahmedabad and Pune scheduled to hold the first few matches. However, in view of the covid crisis, the government is yet to take a call on the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI)'s request for allowing 50% occupancy at stadiums for the tournament.

Though Star India did not divulge the names of sponsors and advertisers for the bilateral series, the broadcaster said it has witnessed keen interest from auto, ed-tech, e-commerce, automotive, insurance, financial services, gaming and telecom players.

Dinesh Rathod, chief executive of media agency Madison Media Omega, said the England series will have ample time and opportunity for brands to advertise. "I expect advertising to be packed and the rates will be higher than the previous cricket tournaments that have happened in the country. Apart from the match timings, the buzz around the tournament is also high when it happens in India. Additionally, if it turns out to be a closely fought series then the viewership will go up leading to high ad rates, especially during the T20s."

"England tour of India is the most awaited bilateral series. It marks the return of cricket to Indian soil after a long hiatus. The consumption and reach of bilateral series on Star Sports have been growing year-on-year across consumer segments, and there is a lot of anticipation among the viewers, which has led to strong demand from brands across categories, " said Anil Jayaraj, executive vice president, Star Sports. "This is only the beginning; we look forward to a strong line-up of cricketing action this year and we are excited about the possibilities that we can offer to our brand partners."

Star has started promoting the series through #IndiaTaiyarHai campaign featuring actor Boman Irani. The tournament will be broadcast on the Star Sports network and streamed on Disney+ Hotstar across five languages –English, Hindi, Kannada, Tamil and Telugu.

Quoting Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) data, Star India said the average reach for a bilateral series on Star Sports telecast for two to three weeks typically has been close to 190 million. Of the total viewers, typically 46% were males above 15-years, while 53% were women above 15-years and children (2-14 years).

Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media, a Mumbai-based marketing and communication agency, said the upbeat sentiment around Team India is going to help advertisers. "The economy seems to be reviving so we will see brands showing interest in the series. However, the only deterrent is the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL), which is likely to start in March or April. So, advertisers may want to save budgets and not spend heavily on the bilateral tournament."



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