For advertisers, cricket scores over World Cup

Written by Lalitha Srinivasan | Mumbai | Updated: Jun 30 2010, 14:44pm hrs
Even as Coca-Cola India and Vodafone are rolling out high-voltage communication packages during the FIFA World Cup 2010, leading media buyers say many Indian advertisers do not think beyond cricket when its comes to high-decibel brand investments. While IPL(3) generated Rs 840 crore ad revenue, FIFA World Cup 2010's ad sales is expected to touch Rs 150 crore.

The euphoria that IPL created was more mass, while FIFA is yet to gain that huge mass appeal. It still has created a similar draw in certain segments of the audience and in certain markets like Kerala nad West Bengal, said Punitha Arumugam, chairman of Madison Media, the agency which handles the media account of Coca-Cola and Airtel.

According to Arumugam, FIFA has exceeded expectations in creating a buzz in the marketplace, however, the viewership of the first few matches is still lower than FIFA 2006. Maybe because the interesting and more competitive ones are yet to happen. Even as the advertising options are limited to pre/during/post match, ESPN has come up with interesting solutions. An example being Airtel man of the match, she explained.

ESPN Star Sports has sold almost 95% of the inventory till now. FIFA World Cup 2010s major sponsors include, Vodafone, Airtel DTH,e Nokia, Samsung Hero Honda, Coca-Cola, Micromax and Parle Agro among others. Football is not as popular as cricket which cuts across diverse target auidence in rural and urban India, said an analyst in Mumbai. Also, the timing of the matches is such that only hardcore fans can manage to watch the matches, especially the late night ones.

Comparing IPL and FIFA World Cup in India, Ajit Vegheese, MD of Maxus, a Group M company said IPL is a big summer property and advertisers look at brand sustenance much beyond summer. FIFA again is big property advertiser keenly look at and can see some of the non traditional sports advertisers on it this time. Infact, i would say June being a heavy sports month, advertisers do look at all available options. So if FIFA gets 1/10th of the IPL revenue (on broadcast), it would be good enough number, he elaborated..

Sudha Natrajan, president & COO Lintas Media Group said FIFA has gathered much momentum with advertisers and viewers alike. Which is evident from the fact that ESPN has sold all their inventory, and I suspect that they will rake in a little over Rs 150 crore in ad sales alone, she added. Advertiser participation has been enthusiastic, more from the perceived value of the property and buzz, rather than just TAM numbers. Because of the format of the game, advertising clutter is minimal, and the advertisers who have associated with it have got high notice ability, she said.