When fans are busy enjoying Virat Kohli-led Indian team’s winning runs in the ICC World Cup 2019 and cricket market and broadcasters are celebrating unprecedented television ratings, a section of sports marketing business is warming up for Team India’s next assignment – the month-long tour of the West Indies.
Agencies making sales pitches for the series in the Caribbean and media buyers are upbeat about the commercial potential and brands’ response for the series, which has more than one unique selling factors for cricket’s multi-crore rupee market. The two T20 Internationals in Florida will have prime time 8:00 pm start for the Indian audience, besides attracting a huge expatriate Team India fans who are deprived of quality international cricket in the USA. Action in the three One-Day Internationals in the two-Test match series in the Caribbean will start from 7 pm. The Prime Time broadcast hours ensure the best television audience for the series.
A new leaf will be added to the illustrious history of Test cricket as Virat Kohli leads India at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on August 22 for the inaugural series of the ICC Test Championship cycle. Test series in the Caribbean again promises grand eyeballs for the facts like Prime Time 7 pm start.
“Cricket for the Indian fan is magical and perennial ice-cream that never gets over! And so, right after the World Cup will follow the West Indies series,” says Harish Bijoor, brand and business strategist and owner of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc. “In many ways, this is going to be an opportunity to watch two deep players in the purest form of cricket.”
Hardik Pandya and Rishabh Pant magic. This twin “P” factor is emerging as cricket’s biggest selling point for the entertainment quotient they create with the power of their willow. “Analysis reveals a certain upsurge in television rating graph every time Pant or Pandya have stepped on to the field. Pandya has carried this phenomenon with him from IPL to the ICC World Cup. The presence of two rising stars make a very impactful sales pitch for cricket content,” a noted media buyer told InsideSport.co on condition of anonymity.
“Normally, it is not a good time to make sales pitches in the middle of the World Cup. Still, response to India’s entire tour of the West Indies is very encouraging. The timing is perfect as the tour starts within a couple of weeks after the World Cup final. This gives brands the best opportunity to maintain continuity in their marketing campaigns. It’s unprecedented to ink deals (for future series) during IPL or World Cup. But response for the West Indies tour is overwhelming and we are closing deals.”
Chris Gayle has confirmed that the series against India will be his last international outing for the West Indies. The Caribbean fans, known for celebrating cricket more than anyone else, will be out in big numbers to see the Universal Boss in action in his last international series.
“Let’s not forget the brands have invested a fortune for marketing opportunities during the World Cup. I terms of ROIs, the bilateral series (between India and the West Indies) ensures better value for money for any advertiser. This is a smart investment for marketers,” says a top executive with the leading sports management company.
“We are negotiating deals for at least five brands. I cannot reveal much. But the brands are overwhelmed with the kind of deals I am weaving in for them.”
India start their away series against the West Indies with the two T20 Internationals in Florida, the USA on August 3 and 4. The third and last T20 ODI will be played at Georgetown Guyana on August 6. Providence Stadium in Guyana will also host the first ODI on August 8. The three ODI series will be followed by two Test matches, starting on August 22 and 30 at Antigua and Jamaica respectively.
The matches in India will be broadcast LIVE Sony Pictures Network on their sports cluster channels with LIVE streaming on the OTT platform SonyLIV.