FIFA WC 2018: Sony eyes Rs. 200 cr ad rev from TV, digital

MUMBAI: As India braces itself for the football fever ahead of FIFA World Cup 2018, Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI), the official broadcaster of the event, is eyeing ad revenue of Rs 200 crore from the event. The ad revenue target is both from TV broadcast and digital on SonyLIV.

FIFA World Cup 2018 will take place in Russia from 14 June till 15 July.

Sony is making efforts to ensure that the event reaches 100 million viewers. It has dedicated four language feeds namely English, Hindi, Bengali, and Malayalam, for the tournament. The event will air on Sony Ten 2 in English and Sony Ten 3 in Hindi apart from Bengali and Malayalam audio feeds on Sony ESPN.

SPNI president sports and distribution Rajesh Kaul said that the company has closed 7-8 sponsorship deals. He declined to name the sponsors who have come on-board. As per the available information, Hero MotoCorp is the co-presenting sponsor.

“We are targeting ad revenue of Rs 200 crore from TV and digital. We have closed seven to eight sponsorship deals while talks are on with more clients. The advertiser response has been excellent as more matches are in the primetime. Football has seen continuous viewership growth in the country,” Kaul told

SonyLIV will offer live and deferred stream for FIFA World Cup. The live feed will be available for a subscription while the 5-minute delayed feed will be ad-supported. “Live matches for the World Cup are behind a paywall on SonyLIV. Users can also watch the tournament for free with a five-minute delay. Football is one of the biggest subscription drivers globally. In India too it plays an important role,” Kaul added.

SPNI is running a campaign with the tagline ‘Meri Doosri Country’ to build excitement around the tournament. The campaign is being run across all SPNI’s 31 channels print and digital.

Lodestar UM VP Avinash Hegde noted that fan following for soccer is increasing in India. “Core audience for soccer would be youth predominantly males under 34. The bulk of the viewership contribution would come from markets like West Bengal, North East, Goa, Kerala.”

Nearly 65% of the reach for the 2014 FIFA World Cup came from the male audience. Nearly half of the reach was the 15-34 TG. Over half of the reach came from SEC A, B.

Hegde also feels that there is a positive spillover effect for other soccer properties in a World Cup year. “Viewership for Soccer properties does change if it is telecasted close to the period when World Cup is telecast. For instance, ISL in 2018 could have benefited to an extent by FIFA U 17 World Cup,” he stated.

Dentsu Aegis Network chairman, CEO South Asia Ashish Bhasin noted that soccer’s appeal has grown steadily over the years in the key markets like Goa, Kerala and West Bengal. Brands that target the upwardly mobile male will find value in this property, he noted.

“In the non-cricket sports space, the soccer World Cup is an important property. Interest in the sport has been growing among the young generation. In Goa, Kerala, West Bengal and in the metros the sport is seeing decent traction. The target audience tends to be young males, upwardly mobile,” Bhasin said.

“Therefore brands that operate in the luxury or sporting goods space etc will be interested in coming onboard. We are seeing an increasing amount of on-ground activity in places like pubs, malls to attract fans of soccer. Logically since the matches will take place in primetime the viewership should be better compared to the previous edition.”

Madison World COO Buying Neelkamal Sharma noted that the FIFA World Cup 2018 might perform better than the previous edition as the timings suit the Indian audience.

“Male will comprise 50-60% of the audience while Goa, Kerala, West Bengal will remain the focus markets. The only thing is that the match timings are better than the last World Cup. So it may perform better than the last World Cup. Brands that target younger, premium male audience like smartphone makers would use this event. You could also see Fifa global partners coming onboard if they also have a presence in the country.”

He also noted that unlike Cricket the opportunity to advertise in Football is limited. In the same breath, he added that this will also help in getting a better brand recall. “So clever creatives will get noticed and stir up good word of mouth for the concerned brands. he also noted that a lot of out of home viewing will happen as this TG will watch matches in a group. He also feels that holding events like the Fifa Under17 World Cup in the country is a good way to grow soccer’s appeal,” Sharma said.

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