Friday, April 09, 2010

ESPN faces a Googly

IIPM: An intriguing story of growth and envy

After an uneventful champions Trophy, ESPN Star Sports is now struggling for eyeballs for the ongoing Champions League. Even the Rs.1 billion marketing budget for the two cricketing events couldn’t boost the audience interest and the ratings. Sample this: While the Champions League’s opening match got poor ratings of 0.9, the average rating of the tournament so far stands even worse at 0.7 (aMap ratings). This puts Champions League’s performance below Champions Trophy, which managed average TRPs of 1.1. To cash in on the huge popularity of the Indian Premiere League’s huge success, ESPN had bought the 10-year rights of Champions League (the first international club cricket event) for a whopping $975 million. Avers Nirmal Dayani, Senior Director – Marketing, ESPN, “After watching tournaments like IPL and T20 World Cup, people can easily relate to the T20 format. However, it may take some time to get familiar with the international club teams. But it has the potential to become a unique cricket property for ESPN.” The channel has reportedly spent Rs.40 crore alone for promoting the Champions League, but all seems in vain. So the big question now is – how much damage will ESPN bear because of this flop show. In fact, it’s not about a single tournament. The channel is stuck with a ten-year deal for a tournament, which is struggling to touch the ratings of even 1.0. And since many of the ad deals are already sealed for the current season, the actual challenge for the channel will be to find advertisers for the forthcoming seasons of the event. Though, the channel plans to spend lot of monies in popularising the format (international club cricket) to attract audience in the forthcoming seasons, but for now the $975 billion deal with ESPN seems to be a bad bet for the broadcaster.

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Source : IIPM Editorial, 2010.

An Initiative of IIPM, Malay Chaudhuri and Arindam chaudhuri (Renowned Management Guru and Economist).

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