STAR India looks to score big on Australia's tour

By Urvi Malvania , Business Standard, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | September 12, 2017
Signs nine on-air sponsors for the series, which coincides with the festive season.

Star India, the official broadcaster of all international cricket matches played in the country, is looking to make the most of the upcoming Australia tour of India as it will be coinciding with the festive season.

The media company has roped in nine on-air sponsors for the series, comprising five one-day internationals (ODI) and three twenty-twenty (T-20) matches. The nearly month-long tour begins September 17.

Industry experts say the average advertising rate for a 10-second slot on television during the series could jump up to Rs 8 lakh. The sponsors that have come on board include Maruti Suzuki, Samsung (TV), Lever Ayush (a Hindustan Unilever brand), MakeMyTrip, Policy Bazaar, LG, Daily Hunt (news portal/app), Coca Cola India, and Hero MotoCorp. The latter two brands will be returning to cricket sponsorship for the Board Of Control For Cricket In India (BCCI) matches after quite a few years.

Both Coca Cola and Hero had been major names in cricket sponsorship until five to seven years ago, but they yanked their on-air and on-ground sponsorship for various reasons. The two have, however, been prominent advertisers on the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) for years now.

While an India-Australia tie is always an audience drawer, this time around there are other factors that have helped Star India capitalise on the potential of the series. The entire series consists of the shorter format of cricket, which draws more audiences. Second, the series is coinciding with the start of the festive season, the busiest time for advertisers.

The profiles of sponsors reflect both these facts. While e-commerce players have been active on cricket in some way or another, consumer durables like Samsung and LG are also present in the mix, along with automobile and FMCG brands, both of which are seen to be bullish on India cricket sponsorships of late.

"The festive season, combined with the hype around the India-Australia rivalry, has helped Star India push the rates up. I'd say the average sponsorship and spot buys this season would be between Rs 7 lakh and 8 lakh. Of course, the last-minute buys could be higher or lower, depending on how the series pans out," says a media planner aware of the development.

These rates are higher than the rates for the 2017 edition of the IPL. The average rate for the IPL was between Rs 5.5 and 6 lakh for 10 seconds, earning the broadcaster Sony Pictures Network India (SPN) Rs 1,300 crore in ad revenue for the season.
For Star India, this could also be one of the last series under its broadcast contract with the BCCI. The BCCI media rights will come up for review in March next year.

"This festive season will be all about cricket. After Australia, their trans-Tasmanian neighbours, New Zealand, will visit India, followed by Sri Lanka. It's going to be a cricket extravaganza over the next few months for cricket fans across the country. The back-to-back series are best positioned for brands to help them achieve maximum reach in a cluttered environment this festive season," a Star India spokesperson said.

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