ESPN hits jackpot with EURO 2004

By , agencyfaqs! | In | July 21, 2004
EURO 2004, the recently concluded soccer tournament, managed a viewership of 182 million

Cricket may be our national game in terms of popularity, but soccer too is clearly gaining fans. The rising popularity of the sport can be gauged by the fact that recently concluded EURO 2004 managed a viewership of 182 million. In comparison, the 2000 edition of the tournament could manage only

27.8 million viewers

As per TAM Media Research ( C&S Homes, SEC ABC, Males, 15+), from June 12 to July 3, 2004, the EURO 2004 matches, telecast by ESPN STAR Sports, got an average TVR of 0.84. To put the ratings in perspective, the No.1 general entertainment channel STAR Plus got an average TVR of 3.29 during the period, while the No.2 channel Sony got a TVR of 0.94.

The high TVRs for EURO 2004 came despite most matches being played well past midnight. In fact, the matches, which were telecast at the 9.30 pm time-slot, did even better.

For instance, in football crazy Kolkata, the average TVRs for all matches was 6.48, whereas the TVR for the matches telecast in the 9.30 pm time slot was a whopping 10.56. In the rest of West Bengal, while the average TVRs for all matches was 4.85, the 9.30 pm time slot got an average TVR of 7.7. Even Kerala, which saw an average TVR of 3.71, witnessed a TVR of 7.5 for the 9.30 pm slot.

At an all-India level, matches telecast at 9.30 pm got an average TVR of 1.43 compared to 0.84 across all matches.

As expected, a large chunk of viewership came in from the traditional markets such as West Bengal and Kerala. But, what's interesting is that other states such as Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Maharashtra seem to be the new fans of soccer.

For instance, Orissa and Maharashtra got an average TVR of 0.97 and 0.80 respectively, while Madhya Pradesh got an average TVR of 0.79, Gujarat (0.49), Punjab (0.45) and Uttar Pradesh (0.33).

So, what made EURO 2004 a success for ESPN STAR Sports? Yes, the fact that it was heavily promoted by the channel through on-air promos, innovative use of outdoors media like hoardings, public transport vehicles, metro rail in Kolkata, and bus shelters and cinemas in Mumbai helped.

What may have also worked is the channel's decision to introduce Hindi commentaries. Hiren Pandit, general manager, Mindshare says, "Hindi commentary might have been one of the possible reasons, but I am not sure about the intensity of the effect." He adds, "What mainly contributed towards the growth was the media coverage, which the event got. That created interest among the readers and the viewers."

When agencyfaqs!spoke to a cross section of media planners, most of them were of the opinion that the male dominance/control over the remote control played an important role.

"The popular TV soaps during the late evening slots have a predominantly female viewership. That class of viewers must have had a limited access to television on the days when matches were telecast on the 9.30 pm slot. So, the football games saw a new segment of male viewers, and thus higher TVRs," said a senior media planner.

ESPN STAR Sports is excited with the success and is getting ready for yet another football event - English Premier League. An enthused R C Venkateish, managing director, ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd. says, "We are strongly committed to the cause of driving all sports and making strong investments, specifically in soccer, both in terms of world-class acquisitions and strong marketing investment." © 2004 agencyfaqs!

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