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Short Test doosra fails to ruffle well-set sponsors

Sources said the co-presenters are shelling out Rs 17-20 crore each, while associate sponsors are spending Rs 12-14 crore each

Urvi Malvania  |  Mumbai 

India, South Africa, Test Series, Cricket
South African bowler Imran Tahir celebrates the wicket of Amit Mishra during the second day of the 3rd test match in Nagpur. Photo: PTI

India's short run in the ICC World Cup 2007 was a disaster for cricket fans and sponsors alike, but also a lesson well learnt, which the latter are now using to fend off such uncertainties as Test matches ending in three days instead of five.

In 2015, six Test matches, including two between India and South Africa in the current series and the much-anticipated Australia-New Zealand first day-and-night Test match, ended within three days (see chart).

STAR India is the official broadcaster for the four-match India-South Africa series, the last Test of which is scheduled to start in New Delhi on Thursday.

The tour, for three Twenty-20, five One-Day Internationals and four Test matches, has 10 sponsors.

Short Test doosra fails to ruffle well-set sponsors
Paytm, Raymond and Lava have signed on as co-presenters while Maruti, Hero, Idea Cellular, Intex, Airtel and Pernod Ricard are associate sponsors.

Sources said the co-presenters are shelling out Rs 17-20 crore each, while associate sponsors are spending Rs 12-14 crore each.

Advertisers are well aware of the risks - they pay only if the ad spots are aired. "Yes, they lose out on the visibility they were planning to get. That's what they were paying for," said Nandini Dias, chief operating officer, Lodestar UM and Initiative, Lintas Media Group.

Digitisation of delivery content makes it easier to track ads. But on-ground sponsors get a rough pitch to bat on.

C M Singh, chief operating officer, Videocon Industries, said: "On-ground sponsors can be in a tight spot. We were an on-ground sponsor for the India-South Africa one-day matches, not the Tests. I can imagine how frustrating it must be for those who pumped in money for the Test series."

With two of the four matches wrapping up within three days, on-ground sponsors had their visibility cut short.

Thankfully, though, India has been playing well and the series has been attracting viewership. India has already won the Test series 2-0.

Not everyone feels that matches ending early is a terribly thing.

"Advertisers pay for spots. Some matches get over in three days; others go on for four to five days. I don't think advertisers have anything to lose," said STAR India's chief executive officer Uday Shankar.

He added: "What matters is the performance of the Indian team. Are new players, new stars coming up? That is what excites everybody, and I would think that applies to advertisers as well."

According to industry sources, the Amfi board meeting in October and November had serious discussions in which members expressed their unhappiness that a number of players - both large and small - were not following the guidelines. Instead they were finding other ways to incentivise the distributors.

"After the October meeting, members of the Amfi board had approached Sebi for its support in implementing the guidelines. However, Sebi had told the members that it was an industry issue. However, Sebi seems to have decided to step in after things went out of hand," said an industry player.

Industry players said that after the Sebi letter, the next step would be to get the trustees to be involved in this process of payment of commission. Once trustees get involved, many of these practices will be resolved, said the CEO of a fund house. Between 2013-14 and 2014-15, aggregate distributor commissions for the industry have almost doubled from Rs 2,603 crore to Rs 4,729 crore. The number of distributors who earned more than a crore rose from 45 to 87.

First Published: Thu, December 03 2015. 00:56 IST