Even as India celebrates the Champions Trophy win over England, advertisers are not lining up to pay a premium for the next cricketing outing for the Indian team. The team's performance in the recently-concluded tournament notwithstanding, the upcoming India-Sri Lanka-West Indies tri-series seems to have bleak prospects as far as ad revenues go. The seven-match series that kicks off on June 28 will be held in the Caribbean (three matches in Jamaica and four matches, including the final on July 11, in Trinidad). In India, the series will be telecast on Ten Sports from 8.00 pm. The channel has got Micromax as the co-presenter, Xolo smartphones as an associate sponsor and Kent RO as the title sponsor for the studio show. A couple of more associate sponsors are expected to come on board over the next few days. Ten Sports is charging Rs 2.5-2.6 lakh for a 10-second slot, which may be raised in case India makes it to the finals. Media planners, however, feel this may be pushing one's luck too far. Mona Jain, CEO of Vivaki Exchange, explains: "This is not a very active time for the advertisers who usually invest in cricket. Even with the Champions' Trophy, one saw a spate of consumer goods FMCG (fast-moving consumer goods) brands.
There is a lot more cricket coming up and my guess is that the advertisers will rather put their money on the subsequent series/tournaments." According to Ashish Sehgal, chief sales officer, Zee Entertainment Enterprises Ltd, the case with Champions' Trophy was that the matches in the early stage of the tournament did not sell at high rates, but as India did well and progressed, the rates increased. He hopes this sentiment will be carried into the upcoming tri-series as well. Debraj Tripathy, managing director of MediaCom, feels one strong performance by the Indian team is too soon a time to tell whether ad rates will go up. "The rates depend on the ratings and till they do not improve, India's performance in one tournament will not have a significant impact on the ad rates." Anamika Jain, COO, Lodestar UM, agrees that the rates will not go up. "It also depends on the kind of property it is and a tri-series at this time is not so appealing for the advertises. The current rate that the broadcasters is asking is also slightly on the higher side." Targeting a total ad revenue of Rs 70-80 crore, Sehgal informs: "We have sold almost 50 per cent of our inventory and should be closing a few more deals over the next couple of days." The series' title sponsor is Celkon. Since the on-ground rights lie with the West Indies cricket board, the deal for the title sponsorship doesn't involve Ten Sports. Considering the time difference between the two countries, one may think that selling spots for the matches could prove to be an uphill task. Citing the contrary, Sehgal says: "The matches start at 8.00 pm IST and go on till late into the night. The advantage is that the second innings will be going on post 11 and that is the time that things get interesting." Tripathy is not so optimistic though. "Advertisers will want spots before India sleeps and thus will not want to spend much on the late-night spots and this will bring down the average ad revenue per match." According to Jain, while India has been doing well, it will not mean greater ad revenues for the upcoming tri-series. She says the ad rates might go down if the advertiser interest doesn't pick up in the coming days.