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ESPN STAR to spend 45 cr on CLT20 promotion
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ESPN Star Sports, which will telecast the Champions League Twenty20, will spend more than Rs 45 crore, or four times what it spend during the inaugural season, for promoting the international club tournament being held in South Africa next month, industry officials familiar with the development said.

The sports channel hopes to pocket $18-20 million (about Rs 90 crore) from this tournament, said officials requesting anonymity. It is charging between Rs 2.5 lakh to Rs 3.25 lakh per ten seconds of ad time, media-buying executives said. ESPN Star will soon roll out a high decibel campaign, created by McCann Erickson and featuring Amitabh Bachchan as the brand ambassador.

The campaign will promote the tournament as “Ab Hoga Asli Muqabala” . The channel had appointed international brand consultants Saffron to arrive at the positioning strategy for the CLT20. “The study shows that the tournament was perceived as quality cricket,” said a spokesman of ESPN STAR. “But because of the newness of the concept viewers were not as tuned in as one would expect,” he added.

A detailed campaign to ensure that the event is built up in the right manner will soon hit the tube, he said. The Champions League was not a great commercial success last year.

The channel is keen to make it a success this year. And it may work. “With the outlay of promotion this year, the ratings should be better,” said Shashi Sinha, CEO of Lodestar Universal. He, however, said advertisers’ interest will depend on the pricing. “If pricing is premium then advertisers will want some protection for their investment,” he said.

ESPN STAR Sports has already roped in Samsung as ground associate sponsor for around Rs 7 crore, Coke as beverage partner (ground sponsor) for nearly Rs 5 crore and Onida as Umpire sponsor for around Rs 3 crore, said media buying sources. It signed Airtel as the title sponsor last year for Rs 170 crore for five years.

Negotiations are on for online commercial slots. ESPN STAR Sports bagged the worldwide telecast and commercial rights of the international twenty20 league from BCCI for $975 million for 10 years.

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