Presence of Virat Kohli also in blue flannels is changing the dynamics of India cricket team’s forthcoming tour of the West Indies. Even if it takes virtually everything away from the hosts, prospect of an enhanced entertainment quotient has added fuel to the commercial aspect of the T20 International and the One Day International series that will precede the launch of the ICC World Test championships.
Kohli was always available for the historical chapter of Test cricket – the two-Test series starting on August 22 that will mark the beginning of the ICC World Test Championship cycle.
Speculation in a section of media about Kohli staying out of the limited overs cricket against the West Indies in the USA and the Caribbeans had dampened the commercial interests in the T20I and ODi series, coming close on the heels of the ICC World Cup 2019. Kohli’s presence for the entire tour will change the economics for the two month long tour, says India’s leading media buyer in cricket Arshad Nizam Shawl.
“Having Kohli reinforces the team strength and ups the level of the competition. Interest in the market becomes higher as it will definitely up the viewership on linear and digital platforms. Brands riding on Kohli will be more eager to invest in the series,” says Arshad, Marketing Director and co-founder, Alliance Advertising.
“The matches will be broadcast at the Prime Time for Indian television. Brands that have missed out on the World Cup and the IPL earlier get a good opportunity before the (Diwali) season. Kohli’s availability is a great news for cricket, business and brands.”
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.
Cricket and India’s leading brand icon brings with him an unparalleled commercial value to the sport. “Virat is as star face and a star bat. His presence adds zing and allure altogether. Broadcasters love stars and here they have it, another opportunity to monetize the star. With his presence demand and value for the series is going to go up,” said Harish Bijoor, brand and business strategist and owner of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc.
India will start its tour of the West Indies with the first two T20Is in the USA, Florida on August 3 and 4. The third T20I will be played at Guyana on August 6. Guyana will also host the first ODI on August 8, while the next to ODIs will be played at Port of Spain, Trinidad, on August 11 and 14. Two Test match are scheduled at Antigua (August 22-26) and Jamaica (August 30-Sept 3).
The matches in India will be broadcast LIVE Sony Pictures Network on their sports cluster channels with LIVE streaming on the OTT platform SonyLIV.