afaqs! news bureau

Champions League T20 launches with seven on-air sponsors

The league will be marketed based on the anthem, 'Ragad, Ragad', especially created for its fifth edition.

STAR Sports has sealed seven sponsors to air the fifth season of the cricket tournament, Champions League T20. Starting September 21, the tourney will end on October, 6. The qualifier matches began on September, 17.

Champions League T20 launches with seven on-air sponsors
In August 2012, Karbonn Mobiles was the on-ground title sponsor. The brand has renewed the deal. Like last year, Karbonn Mobiles will also be a co-presenting sponsor for the on-air telecast of the tourney.

It may be recalled that the league has been on a rough patch since it started in October, 2009. Though Airtel was signed on as the title sponsor of the tournament for five years for Rs 170 crore, it backed out from the league in its third season using an exit clause in the agreement.

Airtel's exit was apparently prompted by the poor viewership numbers. In its first year, the league averaged at 1.06 TVRs. The ratings, however, improved in 2010, when it averaged at 1.45 TVRs. In comparison, IPL garnered an average TVR of 4.1 in 2009. In 2010, IPL averaged at 5.51 TVRs.

Later, Nokia was taken on-board as the title sponsor for Champions League T20 Season 3 on a negotiated price of Rs 8-9 crore for a single year, much lower than the earlier deal. Even in the third season, the tourney couldn't garner more than 2 TVRs on an average, compared to IPL 2011, which clocked average 3.91 TVRs.

Apart from Karbonn Smart, Tata Docomo is the other co-presenting sponsor for the league this year, along with Pernod Ricard, Bharat Business Channel (Videocon D2H), Panasonic, Toshiba India and Airtel Broadband, which are associate sponsors. As for the on-ground sponsors, Karbonn is accompanied by Panasonic, Britannia, Panasonic TV and Jaypee Cements.

CLT20 will be broadcast on STAR Cricket, STAR Sports and STAR Cricket HD. Interestingly, the network is going the SET Max way, it seems. The first and last matches of the tourney will be simulcast on STAR Gold, the Hindi movie channel of the STAR India network. This is the first time that STAR Gold will have non-movie content.

As a part of its multi-lingual content, there will be a special Hindi presentation for the tourney on STAR Cricket, in addition to the English commentary on STAR Sports and STAR Cricket HD. The presentation on STAR Gold will also be in Hindi to generate interest among the Hindi speaking male audiences.

As for the build-up programming, STAR Sports' flagship cricket show, Champions Ka Champion, is acting as the vehicle to build up and educate people about all the teams participating in the league. The opening ceremony of the tournament will have a performance by singer Mika in Jaipur. Apart from this, the main attraction of the tournament is that Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and M S Dhoni will be playing together in a T20 tourney for the last time.

Champions League T20 launches with seven on-air sponsors
The tournament promise of 'Dekhiye Indian Champions ka saamna ab Duniya ke Champions se', will be communicated through an extensive marketing campaign across news and music channels, apart from STAR Network's sports channels. The marketing campaign rides on a special musical anthem, 'Ragad, Ragad', which is slated to become the signature tune of CLT20. It is sung by Mika and written by Prasoon Joshi. It is based on the 'Abol Tabol' genre of music which originates from West Bengal, literally meaning weird and random.

In an official communiqué, Vijay Rajput, chief operating officer, ESPN Software India, says, "We are very confident about the success of the tournament as we have representation from top four IPL teams and the champion teams from leading cricket playing nations across the world. The Indian cricket team has not been in action for almost two months now. This gap of cricket, we believe, will also attract more viewers to the CLT20 fold."

IPL champions Mumbai Indians will face Rajasthan Royals in the opening match of the season. In all, 10 teams will compete for the trophy.

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