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Help  Television ad rates soar for Indo-Pak semi-final
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With India set to battle arch rivals Pakistan in the cricket World Cup semi-finals, official broadcaster ESPN STAR Sports (ESS) is understood to have increased advertising rates five-fold for the match to be played the coming Wednesday. Ticket prices have shot up 10-fold in the grey market and hotels are full, with a surge in demand at the venue, Mohali, close to Chandigarh.

According to media buyers, ESS is charging between Rs 15 lakh to Rs 18 lakh for a 10-second ad slot during the match, five to six times higher than what the official broadcaster charged last-minute advertisers during the league and quarter-final matches.

A senior executive at a media buying firm said, “The ad rates being quoted for the India-Pakistan match are the highest charged so far for any sporting event in the country. The rates are over 25 per cent higher than that charged for the India-Australia match played yesterday.” The broadcaster had nearly quadrupled the spot ad rates for the crucial India–Australia match yesterday. A 10-second ad spot on the channel was sold at Rs 12 lakh.

Advertisers paid Rs 3.5-4 lakh for a 10-second spot to ESS for telecasting their commercials during the league and quarter-final World Cup matches.

“The India-Pakistan match is the biggest marketing opportunity in the World Cup and no advertiser is willing to let go. It may turn out to be the biggest ad revenue grosser for the broadcaster,” a senior executive of a media buying agency told Business Standard, requesting anonymity, as he was involved in buying ad spots for some clients.

The broadcaster is estimated to have earned a little over Rs 1,000 crore in advertising revenues during the ongoing World Cup from around 80 advertisers. It paid $1.1 billion (Rs 5,000 crore) for the rights of all tournaments organised by the International Cricket Council between 2007 and 2015.

With cricket fans across the country rushing to witness the battle on March 30, hotel rates at Mohali have almost doubled. A budget hotel normally charging Rs 2,000 to Rs 3,000 is giving rooms for Rs 4,000 to Rs 6,000. “We are all booked for March 30 and there are very few rooms available for March 29 and April 1,” said Munish Aggarwal, managing director, Best Western Maryland at Zirakpur. The hotel is about six km away from Mohali.In the meantime, ticket prices have shot up 10 times. A ‘chair block’ ticket at the stadium which was officially sold for Rs 500 was being traded for Rs 5,500-6,000 today in the grey market. The stadium at Mohali has a seating capacity of 27,500. Around 14,000 tickets were sold over the counter on March 21-22, and the rest were booked by the International Cricket Council, the Board of Control for Cricket in India and corporate bodies. Sources estimate over half the tickets sold over the counter are being traded in the grey market.

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