Brand war starts with cricket World Cup 2007

first_imgICC World Cup 2007It is the buzz of the season. As the men in blue pad up for the big Cup, brands of virtually every stripe are taking guard to score with Indian consumers and hike market share. Business is moving at a pace that would make Brett Lee envious.,ICC World Cup 2007It is the buzz of the season. As the men in blue pad up for the big Cup, brands of virtually every stripe are taking guard to score with Indian consumers and hike market share. Business is moving at a pace that would make Brett Lee envious.In India, cricket is not just religion but mega-business. This World Cup is expected to draw an Indian audience of 280 million (India matches)-80 per cent of 350 million TV viewers, as compared to 23 million who watch a Kaun Banega Crorepati or Saas-Bahu soaps. Who would not want a share of so many wallets?2,500 Indians will be at the Cup, spending Rs 3 lakh eachSpends into cricket’s World Cup (from television, sponsorship, stand sales and merchandising) keep rising. The TV rights for the 1999 World Cup were sold for approximately $16 million. The rights to the 2003 and 2007 World Cups have been sold in a package for $220 million. Companies like Pepsi, Hutch, Hero Honda, Indian Oil, Cable & Wireless and Scotia Bank have signed official World Cup sponsorship deals, said to cost up to $30-35 million (over Rs 133 crore) each.According to sources, the World Cup rights holder SET Max expects to make around Rs 500 crore from the event though media planners peg this figure between Rs 300-Rs 350 crore. SET has already roped in two presenting sponsors, who will spend a reported Rs 30 crore each, six associate sponsors committing monies to the tune of Rs 20 crore to Rs 25 crore each. Rising Prices of World Cup PropertiesClick here to EnlargeSET has further sold broadcasting rights for four countries to local broadcasters. Says Rohit Gupta, executive vice-president, sales and revenue management, SET, “The World Cup has become so large because of the increased viewership.” In 2003 there were 32 million homes with a TV set, today they are close to 70 million.Even for the companies not directly associated with the event, Cup season brings a windfall. Korean brand Samsung has been planning Cup promotions since January. It expects an increase of 40 per cent in CTV sales over the corresponding period last year. That’s a whopping 3,00,000 units in two months. Rivals and official Cup sponsor LG is expecting a 75 per cent rise in CTVs and 300 per cent in flat panel displays (LCD & Plasma TVs). BONANZA: Companies have turned promotion-crazy as the spectacle beginsBONANZA: Companies have turned promotion-crazy as the spectacle beginsLG has launched limited-edition cricket TV sets, calling them the Official World Cup televisions. Hero Honda has been associated with cricket for over a decade. Says Anil Dua, vice-president, marketing and sales, Hero Honda, “We have made big investments into the World Cup. Naturally there are expectations.” It even launched its CBZ bike in the 1999 World Cup. “The World Cup played a big role in creating a young sporty image for the bike,” says Dua.BONANZA: Companies have turned promotion-crazy as the spectacle beginsThe World Cup typically happens around end February-early March. This coincidentally is the beginning of the season for white goods makers as well as beverage companies. In February, Pepsi launched Pepsi Gold- a cola with a dash of lemon in a gold bottle, which symbolises the gold coloured World Cup Trophy. Executive vice-president-marketing, cola, Vipul Prakash says some of the company’s most loved campaigns (e.g. ‘Nothing Official About It’ or ‘Men In Blue’ or ‘Blue Billion’) have come from cricket. Says Prakash, “We view the World Cup as another opportunity to grow brand equity and market share.”Even global sports brand Nike, which has been better known for its association with golf and football, is eyeing a slice of the cricket pie. It spent Rs 197 crore in acquiring sponsorship rights of the Indian cricket team from the BCCI, outbidding rival Reebok’s Rs 119 crore. Recently, it launched its first-ever cricket commercial which was conceived and produced in India and not, as usually happens, by the parent in the US. Nike India marketing director Sanjay Gangopadhyay claims that their marketing push is already paying off.For Indian companies, this is a golden opportunity to build brand awareness abroad. With over two billion viewers expected to tune in world wide, Indian companies, big and small are shelling out big bucks to get noticed. Sportzvillage, a Bangalore based sports marketing company, launched in May 2006, forked out Rs 10 lakh to be an established official hospitality sales agent for the 2007 Cup. Global partners will pay $100-$110m each for the 2008-2015 Cup packageThey have already sold around 600 packages (premium tickets) to corporates and high net worth individuals globally, with an average billing of $700 per package and are inundated with orders extending to travel as well.Mobile service operators are rolling out tailored plans for World Cup fans. Hutch subscribers can access the cricketing action on their mobiles and get score updates, match schedules and comments from former cricketer Arun Lal. VISA has got music directors Shankar, Ehsaan and Loy to compose a song to inspire team India. Sundar Raman, MD, Mindshare, a media investment management agency, says, “Everyone wants to do something around the Cup, hence the overall noise level has gone up.”People of all ages on Cricket promotionBroadcasters too are betting big. “Cricket as an ad medium is unparalleled,” says Shashi Kalathil, CEO, Neo Sports Broadcast. Already, ESPN STAR sports has paid a whopping $1.1 billion for the Cup telecast rights from 2008 to 2015. Meenakshi Madhvani, managing partner Spatial Access Solutions, a media audit firm, thinks future trends will depend on the Indian team’s performance. “Lay audiences are getting less forgiving and less accommodating of bad performances.”Media experts believe 2007 is a tipping point from the advertisers’ point of view. If the Indian team does lift the Cup as in 1983, cricket sponsorships could well begin a new innings.advertisementadvertisementlast_img

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