Deserted roads, empty malls, lower attendance in offices marked the India-Australia cricket semi-finals at the ICC World Cup. But, buzzing were restaurants and social media.
Restaurants and pubs were busy cashing on the frenzy by opening early and running special promotions around food and drinks. Though the results were not what Indian cricket buffs would have wanted.
“The result today will bear no impact on the finals. The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 has not only scored high in terms of viewership but also recorded the highest number of advertisers for any sporting event in India,” a Star Sports spokesperson said.
The broadcaster said with India reaching the knockout stages, a number of brands such as Amazon, Snapdeal, Dell, Panasonic, Toyota, OLX and Voltas came on board for the semi-finals and finals.
Media planners said the official broadcaster Star India may not see any significant impact in term of ad sale revenues for the final as it would have been left with little inventory. However, the final match may see a drop in interest back home.
Vinit Karnik- National Director, GroupM ESP, said the official broadcaster is likely to maintain its semi-finals rates for the final. However, it may not see an incremental increase in revenues that it would have seen had India reached the finals.
Rohan Jetley, promoter Bistro Hospitality, which runs TGI Fridays across the country, said: “We opened up early and saw nearly 120 per cent increase in footfalls. Occupancy levels on a Thursday morning were as high as what we usually see on a Friday or Saturday night.”
Added Riyaaz Amlani, CEO & MD, Impresario Entertainment & Hospitality, which runs several restaurants like Smoke House Deli and Stone Water Grill, said: “We saw nearly 100 per cent increase in footfalls on Thursday. Though the second half was the dampener, people stayed till the last ball.”
A spokesperson for Select City Walk mall, a premium mall in Delhi, said: “The food court, which had a live screen, and even the casual dining restaurants, were all full. There were over 35,000 footfalls today. There was also a screening arranged just for mall employees.”
Tour operators who have sold ICC World Cup travel packages said bookings for the semi-final and final were high. Cancellations are unlikely though India has been knocked out, as these are high cost packages booked much in advance and have several non-refundable components.
Dimple Gandhi, Director, Cutting Edge Events, said: “We saw a surge in enquiries for travel packages post the quarter-finals and nearly 60 per cent of the booking for the travel packages was done bye corporates. We don’t anticipate much of last minute cancellations as these bookings are made much in advance and are high cost packages.”