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Storyboard | Star Sports keeps 10-15% inventory for T20 World Cup finals

If India makes it to the final of the 2021 ICC T20 World Cup, brands will have to shell out more than what they spend for premium inventory of an India-Pak match.

October 31, 2021 / 11:18 AM IST
(Representative image)

(Representative image)

The India-Pakistan match dampened people’s spirits, but Star Sports is still counting on team India to bring the cup home. According to sources, Star and Disney India are holding on to premium inventory for last-minute selling before the ICC T20 World Cup semi-finals and finals; 10-15% inventory has been held back for the same.

The T20 World Cup already has the distinction of being the first edition of the tournament during the festive season, and the finals being on a Sunday (November 14) is expected to garner huge viewership. Advertisers have already spent generously on both TV and online streaming platforms, with premium matches like India-Pakistan selling inventory for up to Rs30 lakh for a 10-second ad slot.

Experts say it’s all about timing. Brands will be ready to shell out even more if India makes it to the end.

“Brands which had held back M&P (marketing and promotion) investments are now opening up – all the new fin-tech advertisers are a case in point – and driving up last-minute inventory demand,” says Navin Lalchandani, SVP, Starcom.

“Some legacy advertisers in sectors like automobiles, which are male focused, have also bought on the tournament at the last minute. Having said that, cricket always does see last-minute demand and the actual monetization potential for the broadcaster depends on how India performs in the matches,” says Lalchandani.

Industry sources say Star Sports quoted Rs 16-18 lakh for 10-second ad slots for the tournament. According to reports, Star Sports has sold inventory worth more than Rs1,000 crore for the T20 World Cup 2021, which is a huge jump from the last season. They are continuing the bull run from the second leg of the Indian Premier League, the official broadcasters increased the rates from Rs 13-14 lakh to around Rs 18 lakh per 10 seconds, as per sources in the industry.

Read more: Sports to bring more ad revenues to TV, thanks to T20 World Cup, Tokyo Olympics

“As per the GroupM’s ESP properties report, Star Sports was able to pull in Rs 260 crore net ‘on air’ ad sales revenues for the previous edition of ICC Men’s T20. India exiting the tournament at the semi-final stage impacted the ad rates for the finals. If India makes it to the finals this year, Star will sell last-minute inventory and charge a premium,” says Ambika Sharma, Founder and MD at digital marketing agency Pulp Strategy.

During the ICC World Cup T20 held in India in 2016, the cumulative in-home viewership for the tournament in India was 730 million, an increase of 114 per cent over the previous edition. “This year also we are expecting last minute changes if India reaches and crosses past records,” says Sharma.

The sponsor list for the season includes Byju’s, Dream 11, Coca Cola, Vimal, PhonePe, Havells, Netmeds, CoinDCX, JioMart, Skoda, Mondelez, Reliance Trends, Pernod, Upstox, Samsung and Cred.

Disney+ Hotstar will be seeing Dream11, Vimal Elaichi, Coinswitch, Oppo, Swiggy, Maruti, AMFI, PhonePe, Mondelez and Upstox this season.

Read more: The curious case of Dream11 suspending operations in Karnataka

The overall sentiment of brands has been high this season, helping properties like the T20 World Cup push demand and ad rates.

“Nearly all our clients are currently active on TV, even those who typically avoid the festive season have planned campaigns this year," says Lalchandani. "There has thus been an increase in demand for inventory on properties like the ongoing T20 World Cup. The demand is likely fed by the timing of the tournament – Covid cases seem to be under control, there is buoyancy in the air and the festive season is in full-swing," he adds.