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Help Cricket World Cup: ESPN ropes in seven sponsors already
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NEW DELHI/KOLKATA: The run harvest for brands has begun for the upcoming cricket World Cup , which is being co-hosted by India along with Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Only 90 days away for the mother of all sports in the subcontinent, brands like LG, Pepsi , Maruti Suzuki, Nokia , Philips, Sony, Reliance Mobile , Future Group, Reebok and Emirates have already made a beeline for the cricketing carnival.

Official broadcaster ESPN, which has sold almost 50% of its advertisement inventory, has already roped in seven sponsors. “We are about three months away from the tournament but we have already locked in sponsors and in talks with several others,” said ESPN Indian senior director (communications and business development) Rathindra Basu. “Around 45-50% of the inventory is sold out,” he added.

ESPN is expected to rake in about Rs 700 crore from the tournament, which will have 49 matches. Media planners say that spot advertisement rates have already touched Rs 4 lakh per 10 seconds.

“The World Cup would ensure good return of the money, since ICC events are much less cluttered as compared to other cricket tournaments,” said Philips India Electronics CMO Vivek Sharma. “And with the future of the Indian Premier League (IPL) uncertain next year, the ICC World Cup will gain all the eye balls,” he added.

There are no no-balls in this World Cup. So Reliance Mobile, LG, Reebok, Emirates and Hero Honda, who have long-term ground sponsorship deals with ICC, are drawing up mega-marketing investments around the event.

LG Electronics, the country’s largest consumer electronics maker, plans to spend Rs 30 crore or almost 10% of its annual marketing budget. The company plans to run a consumer engagement initiative through which it will select children of its consumers to escort the teams during the national anthem singing ceremony.

“We will start our marketing and sales activity from next month. We expect this will provide a significant boost to sales of some products like LCD and Plasma TV,” says LG Electronics India CMO L K Gupta.

Samsung and Sony too are building up their TV inventory with TV sales expected to double during the event.
Future Group, the official merchandise partner of the World Cup, is targeting sales of Rs 75 crore from the event. The country’s largest retailer will sell a special line-up of merchandise in apparel, sports gear, bath and bed linen, carpets as well as the official ICC merchandise of all the teams.

“We expect 15% growth in footfalls during the world cup which will generate incremental sales across all categories,” said Future Group CEO (retail) Rakesh Biyani.

Spencer’s Retail is readying itself for a spurt in sales of consumer electronics like LCD TV, wine and snack foods, which people tend to buy for enjoying sports telecast.

Emirates, one of the ICC sponsors, plans to promote the tournament across its global network and run special offers for fans travelling to the Indian sub-continent during the cup.

A section of media planners, however, think that the coming year will be tough for brands to decide on cricket-related marketing spends as the World Cup and IPL’s fourth season will run back-to-back. While global brands may use the World Cup more to reach their target audience, Indian brands may find more value in advertising on IPL.

“There will be very few brands that will advertise on both the tournaments and most would choose one of the two events,” said Anita Nayar, CEO of media buying firm MPG.

Source: The Economic Times

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