Automobile major Maruti Suzuki and consumer durables maker Lloyd Electric have signed as on-air sponsors for the Cricket World Cup beginning February 14, sources say. When contacted, officials at STAR Sports, which will broadcast the tournament, confirmed this.
Through the tournament, Lloyd will promote its Lloyd Air Conditioners brand.
STAR Sports is also in talks with other advertisers, including those in the handset and e-commerce segments. However, before signing up, many are tracking India's performance during the ongoing tri-series in Australia. "How advertisers respond to the World Cup will depend largely on India's performance in the run-up to the tournament, as well as its performance during the World Cup. If India does well, the response from advertisers will be good," says Ashish Bhasin, chairman and chief executive (South Asia), Dentsu Aegis Network.
Shantanu Dasgupta, vice-president (corporate affairs and strategy), Whirlpool, says, "The tri-series will determine how strong India is in One-Dayers. We will then take a call on whether or not to invest in the Cricket World Cup."
On-air sponsorship rates for the tournament have been estimated at about Rs 3 lakh/10 seconds, lower than the Rs 5 lakh/10 seconds for the eighth edition of the Indian Premier League (IPL), which begins in April. Multi Screen Media, the IPL broadcaster, is also making presentations to media planners and buyers.
Appliance and TV manufacturers are expected to plan aggressive launches around the cricket season this year. "Considering the enthusiasm for IPL and the Cricket World Cup, we plan to spend 15-20 per cent of our total marketing budget for this year during these two events. We also plan to launch a special edition of the Viera TV during this season," said Manish Sharma, managing director of Panasonic India and South Asia.
The International Cricket Council (ICC)'s official on-ground sponsors, including PepsiCo (also the IPL title sponsor), might also vie for on-air sponsorships for the Cricket World Cup. The company has already begun its World Cup campaign, promoting its Lays brand.
LG and Hyundai, two other ICC sponsors, have also begun initiatives centred around on the World Cup.
Other ICC Cricket World Cup sponsors include Reebok, Emirates, Castrol, MRF Tyres, Money Gram and Reliance Communications. STAR Sports is said to be in talks with these companies. At the same time, the broadcaster is also wooing regional advertisers, as this is the first time the event will be broadcast in multiple languages, including Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Kannada, Bengali and Marathi. For those watching high definition (HD) channels, there will be an HD feed.
Sources say STAR Sports is opting for multiple feeds because it is keen to reduce its dependence on national advertisers. "By breaking up its broadcast into multiple parts, STAR Sports is giving regional and local advertisers interested in cricket an entry into the World Cup. And, this also ensures it is not at the mercy of national advertisers who bargain hard," said a senior media planner who intends to invest on the World Cup.
ALL EYES ON THE CUP
• More advertisers are likely to sign once the India-Australia-England tri-series concludes
• PepsiCo, an ICC sponsor, is expected to sign as on-air sponsor to gain mileage from Cricket World Cup
• PepsiCo is also a sponsor of IPL
• STAR Sports also talking to regional advertisers since it will broadcast tournament in seven regional languages