ESS eyes Rs 250 crore from ICC World T20

By Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Media Publishing | August 29, 2012
Though the network preferred to maintain silence on the financial details, it is believed that ESS has sealed three co-presenting sponsors for the tournament - Hero, Havels and Reliance Communications, each for a whopping Rs 18-20 crore. Apart from this, there are about six-seven associate sponsors.

ESPN-STAR Sports (ESS) will broadcast the ICC World Twenty20, 2012 in 218 countries (by selling the syndication rights) across the world, with a revenue expectation of more than Rs 250 crore from the tournament. STAR Cricket and STAR Cricket HD will showcase the event, along with a simulcast of the finals and semi-finals on ESPN, accompanied by a Hindi commentary for all India matches.

The event will include 27 matches, with a live and exclusive telecast of the India-Pakistan warm up match on September 17. The main tourney starts from September 18 and ends on October 7, 2012.

According to market sources, the channel plans to do away with the traditional format of presenting sponsor, title sponsor, powered by and associate sponsors. Instead, the network has tied up with three co-presenting sponsors and seven associate sponsors for the tourney.

The three co-presenting sponsors - Hero, Havells and Reliance Communications - must have sealed the deal for an estimated Rs 18-20 crore each, while the associate sponsors Hyundai, Nokia, Tata Teleservices, Tata Motors, Pernod Ricard and PepsiCo have reportedly spent about Rs 11-14 crore each for the association, depending on the FCT commitments.

Market sources also reveal that the channel has demanded a whopping Rs 4-7 lakh per 10-seconder for spot buys, which may have added up to another estimated Rs 100 crore.

The reason for the high airtime rates, as per the market experts, is that with so many sponsors on-board, the inventory is almost full for the rest of the brands which look forward to be associated. "Thus, to leverage this skewed demand-supply balance, the channels often demand higher rates," says a media expert. Another industry insider mentions that the festive season ahead also boosts the airtime sales for the channel.

Aloke Malik, managing director, ESPN Software India, says, "In terms of on-air sales, we have sold close to 80 per cent of the total available inventory as on date. We expect to close a few more within the next two weeks for a complete sell-out."

Malik adds that all matches of the championship will be streamed on with a five-minute delay.

Recently, the channel eyed revenues of about Rs 20 crore from the Champions League matches.

The presentation team for ICC World T20, 2012 will include stars such as Sourav Ganguly, Sanjay Manjrekar, Nasser Hussain, Wasim Akram, Ramiz Raja, Tony Greg, Ian Chappell, Mark Waugh, Russell Arnold, Ian Bishop, Pommie Mbangwa, Damien Fleming, Simon Doull, David Lloyd, Harsha Bhogle and Alan Wilkins. ESS's Jatin Sapru will be the in-studio host, along with former English cricketer Dermot Reeve, who will play the role of an analyst.

ESS will also feature a new touch screen cricket presentation tool in its analysis shows around the live coverage. This will bring in a new dimension to the way the game is analysed and presented, thus giving fans a fresh perspective of the game.

The ICC World Twenty20 will be broadcast by ESPN-STAR Sports as a part of its eight-year agreement with ICC which ends in 2015. The broadcaster will also showcase live semi-finals and finals of the ICC Women's World Twenty20, 2012.

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