The team that has been entrusted with the Asia Cup campaign is the same one that designed the popular ‘Mauka’ (opportunity) campaign in 2015 around the World Cup. It generated a huge number of views and comments at the time and was the second most-watched ad on YouTube. The network is hoping to repeat its success with the Asia Cup.
The network will not only focus on national advertisers but is also in talks with local advertisers since the tournament will be available in three languages—English, Hindi and Tamil. The success of the Tamil feed during the IPL has given Star India confidence that the market can be monetised. “With languages, you can customise (the production/packaging) to suit local preferences like local language commentary. It helps grow the sports’ viewership in that it attracts a lot more people who are interested in the sport but do not have access to it in their language of choice,” says Gautam Thakar, CEO, Star Sports.
The Asia Cup will be followed by the West Indies tour of India and after that, there is the women’s T-20 World Cup, and the India tour of New Zealand. Just before the World Cup, the network will host the Vivo Indian Premier League for the second year in its five year rights tenure. Star Sports will use the interim period, between the Asia Cup and the World Cup 2019, to build on the game’s marketing and packaging, all culminating in the telecast of the grand event.
In terms of packaging, the network has decided to carry on with some of the show formats that found success during the IPL for the Asia Cup, which could make their way into future events too. The ‘Select Dug-Out’ format, which was introduced on Star Sports Select during IPL 2018, will be back on air. Under this format, there are fewer ad breaks and between overs, a team of experts provides an over-by-over analysis of the game.
“We got very positive feedback from core cricket lovers and will bring it (the show) back for the Asia Cup. There will be limited ads and a panel of experts who will analyse the game. Since this series has a longer format of the game, we will be tweaking the format to better suit the 50-over format as opposed to the 20-over IPL format,” says Thakar.
The 50-over format also means that Star Sports has more advertising inventory to sell. “The rates get a boost because of a couple of factors. First, the teams are known, and there are a few established rivalries between teams. India-Pakistan is a classic rivalry, but Sri Lanka and Pakistan are rivals too and Bangladesh has caused quite a few upsets in previous editions of the cup. It is an interesting series in that sense. Also, the timing is conducive to prime time viewing,” says a media planner.