Star Sports sells over 90% ad inventory for ICC WC

MUMBAI: Star Sports has sold the bulk of ad inventory for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019. Even before the event starts on 30th May, the sports broadcaster has already sold over 90% of the ad inventory.

While the earlier plan was to hold back 10% inventory, the sports broadcaster has decided to hold back only 6% considering the demand from advertisers. There are four co-presenting sponsors including PhonePe, Kamla Pasand, Havells and 10 associate sponsors including Dream11, Amazon, Uber, Byjus, MRF, and Policybazaar.

“Sponsors will take up about 40% of the inventory and spot buys will account for the rest due to a large amount of inventory available,” said a source close to the development.

The sports broadcaster sold the Indian Premier League (IPL) and ICC CWC separately since contractually it cannot sell the two properties together. “While deals were done separately there are some clients who are present on both events,” the source added.

On the programming front, there will be 148 commentators across multiple feeds which is a jump of 25% compared to the IPL. Unlike the IPL, the broadcaster will have a single feed for the World Cup. The broadcaster had experimented with Family Feed for the recently concluded IPL.

“There will regional feeds including Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, Bengali. People spend more time when they watch a match in the language that they are comfortable with. Star also plans to use some of its movie channels to air some matches. But the feed will be the same unlike the IPL which had a family feed,” the source stated.

The source also stated that the ICC CWC 2019 has three key advantages as far as viewership is concerned. These include match timings and the format of the tournament which will ensure that there are more India matches.

“This is happening in the event for the first time since 1992. Now every match matters. Earlier Indian fans would not bother about matches happening in the other group. This time India is guaranteed to play nine matches as opposed to six last time around,” the source said.

“Another reason for viewership to grow is that there are no minnows like Ireland, Scotland. Only the big teams are playing and the belief is that viewership will be much better. India versus Pakistan match should set a record. This format works in the broadcaster’s favour as every match now has an implication for India.”

The source also pointed out that the unaided awareness for the World Cup is at an all-time high and is much better than the 2015 edition.

Star will use Augmented Reality a lot which was also the case for the IPL. The graphics enhance the presentation. The studio structure allows Star Sports to do anything using Augmented Reality, said the source.

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