Advertisers still pinning hope on failed Indian stars

Television commercial maker Prahlad Kakkar said people like MS Dhoni are sought after because they are icons and he doesn’t see anything affecting their brand value Getty Images

By CricketCountry Staff

Mumbai: Jan 19, 2012

The India cricket team may be on the verge of a whitewash Down Under but advertisers and broadcasters are still keeping their hope on cricket, given a lack of alternatives and the fickleness of local supporters.

India were thrashed 4-0 in England last year and a similar humiliation looms in Australia, where they are 3-0 down and have already conceded the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.

“Overall, there won’t be much of a difference. Cricket as a property is still hot and advertisers will look to get on board,” Sanjay Chakraborty of ZenithOptimedia told Reuters.

“The humiliation in Australia, is likely to give more bargaining power to advertisers buying slots for the one-day international tri-series that followed the tests from Feb. 5,” he added.

ESPN-STAR Sports senior director of corporate development, Rathindra Basu, believes India needed one good tournament to win back fans who may have turned their back on cricket.

“All it takes is one big win or one big hundred and you will find that all the negativity will disappear,” Basu said.

President of Multi Screen Media, Rohit Gupta, feels, with big-ticket events like the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the Twenty20 World Cup in Sri Lanka lined up this year cricket will draw more than a quarter of the country’s total advertising revenue.

“Cricket gets Indians together like nothing else. Also, events like the IPL are a mix of entertainment and cricket and they appeal to the youth and female audiences, which is a boon for advertisers,” said Rohit Gupta, president of Multi Screen Media, who own telecast rights for the lucrative Twenty20 event.

Television commercial maker Prahlad Kakkar said, “People like MS Dhoni and Sachin Tendulkar are sought after because they are icons. As of now, I don’t see anything affecting their brand value.”

Hero MotoCorp, which has batsman Virender Sehwag and bowler Ishant Sharma as brand ambassadors, is another major sponsor staying loyal to cricket.

“Our commitment to the promotion of the game does not change on the basis of the fluctuating fortunes of the national team,” Hero MotoCorp senior vice president (marketing & sales) Anil Dua.

“Our commitment is for the long-term promotion of cricket and cricketers in the country,” Dua added.