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F1: ESPN STAR ad inventory sold out

Sharmistha Mukherjee  |  New Delhi 

One-and-a-half months prior to India’s first date with the world’s most popular motor sporting event, broadcaster ESPN Star Sports (ESS) has sold the entire advertising inventory for the Grand Prix (GP), scheduled to be held between October 28 and 30.

While ESS has roped in Sony, Samsung, Vodafone and Petronas as sponsors for the entire season, MRF, Shell, BPCL, Tata Motors and Bharti Cellular have signed in as spot buyers. According to media buyers, ESS has sold 10-second slots for around Rs 1.5 lakh. It had an inventory of 800 seconds for each race and ad space has been sold for the entire season. Though these rates are not comparable with Rs 4 lakh it charged for quarter finals and league matches of the ICC Cricket World Cup earlier this year, corporates have made a beeline to purchase spots for the event.

A senior executive at ESS said, “In a cricket-loving nation like India, we’re seeing the emergence of multi-sport fans. The sports fan in India is maturing and it is this acceptance that is moving corporates to look upon other sports as a viable investment option.”

“F1 has a loyal following in India. There are people who go to Malaysia and Abu Dhabi to watch the event. On a global scale, lots of brands are associated with the event, that in itself can keep the broadcaster going. Since the GP will be held for the first time in India, it will generate a lot of interest. It will be big in India in coming time,” said Sudha Natrajan, president and chief operating officer, Lintas Media Group.

Data available with ESS show F1 had reached out to as many as 24.7 million consumers in India last year. This year, the first 10 races have had 21.7 million viewers. With nine more races to go, including the Indian edition of the GP at the Buddh International Circuit in Greater Noida, the broadcaster is expecting the viewership numbers to go up considerably.

ESS is considering streaming the event online, but a final decision is yet to be taken.

ESS has exclusive rights to broadcast FIA Formula One World Championship across multiple platforms in 24 Asian markets. The rights cover major markets such as India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Malaysia and South Korea.

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First Published: Thu, September 15 2011. 00:42 IST
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