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ESPN STAR Sports the other cricket jackpot winner

Varada Bhatt  |  Mumbai 

The 2011 cricket world cup has proved to be a golden goose for ESPN STAR Sports (ESS), with the telecaster raking in around Rs 800 crore from the tournament.

“With India winning the cup, the series could turn out to be the one of (its) biggest revenue grossers,” said sevaral media buyers.

They say with the India-Pakistan semi-final the most viewed on TV in the history of cricket, the broadcaster got a handful of advertisers who paid heavy premium to board on the final stage of the tournament.

During the finals, ESS had sold a 10-second slot for Rs 23-24 lakh each to last-minute advertisers. And, it got many such, in last-minute deals. These included Nike’s ‘bleed blue’ campaign, Amity Group, Volkswagen, Hero Honda, Usha Fans and the trailer of Shah Rukh Khan’s big-budget release, Ra.One, which is scheduled during Diwali.

“The final was the biggest marketing opportunity for any advertiser, after India won the match in a nail-biting finish. Advertisers have cashed in on the event, even at a premium,” said Hiren Pandit , managing partner, South Asia, for Group M.

Before the start of the tournament, ESS was charging Rs 4-5 lakh/10 seconds from sponsors. This was raised to Rs 7-8 lakh and then to Rs 10-12 lakh per 10 seconds as India reached the quarter-finals, according to buyers. Then, it raised to Rs 18-22 lakh for a 10-second slot for the India-Pak semi-final last Wednesday.

An ESS spokesperson declined to comment, but said they’d already sold almost 90 per cent of air-time inventory before the start of the tournament. Sports broadcasters usually keep about 10 percent unsoldto bag a possible premium at the last leg.

ESS had tied up with Sony, Vodafone and Hero Honda Karizma ZMR as co-presenting sponsors. Associate sponsors included Maruti Suzuki, Pepsi, Nokia, Philips and Airtel Digital TV.

According to Jiniti Shah, vice-president, aMap, the viewership increased almost four times from India’s quarter final match with Australia.

“Advertisers and broadcasters can celebrate along with Team India. The match was on for an average of four hours in every household. Ratings peaked towards the end of the match, when India held the Cup,” he added.

ESS has paid $1.1 billion (Rs 4,900 crore) or the exclusive global telecast rights for all International Cricket Council matches between 2007 and 2015.

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First Published: Mon, April 04 2011. 00:52 IST