The Indo-Pak World Cup match on Sunday could become the highest grosser ever in the history of cricket. Unless, of course the game gets rained out! Which is a distinct possibility as per Accuweather.
There is surely euphoria at Star Sports. There is a buzz in the air that the Indo-Pak match on Sunday could gross over Rs. 100 crore in ad revenue, a first ever for Star and for cricket as a sport. India’s strong showing so far at the World Cup with two wins in quick succession over South Africa and Australia has suddenly ignited massive interest amongst clients and media agencies, I am told, with ad-rates sky-rocketing to never before levels. So much so that there is actually no inventory available on the match even at those stratospheric rates.
Let us first look at whether this Rs.100 crore figure itself is real.
Typically a 50 over per side match should be able to open up about 5000 seconds of ad inventory. But Star Sports are very quick and dexterous with inventory loading. With IPL on a 20-20 match, they manage to load 2500-2800 seconds of inventory. So on a 50-50 match, Star could well squeeze in about 7000 seconds, especially given the huge demand.
I would presume an important match like India-Pak would have already been 70-75 percent sold out. For the purpose of calculation, taking 7000 seconds as inventory available, let us assume 5000 seconds had already been sold.
- About 33% of the inventory would have been sold on ROS (run of schedule) basis to clients who bought spots on India as well as non-India matches. So let us say this ROS inventory is about 1600 seconds. The asking rate at Star for ROS is said to be Rs 6-7.5 lacs per 10 seconds. For calculation purpose, let us use a figure of Rs. 7 lacs. So, this ROS inventory would bring in a little more than Rs. 11 crore.
The balance 67% of the 5000 seconds has presumably been sold on an only-India match rate of Rs. 16-18 lacs per 10 seconds. Let us be charitable in our estimates and say effective rate for this inventory is Rs. 18 lacs per 10 seconds. 3400 seconds at that price would bring in Rs. 61 crores or thereabouts.
- With an additional 2000 seconds of inventory (remember we said 7000 seconds for the match), at the now hot new rate of Rs. 25 lacs per 10 seconds, that is an additional Rs. 50 crore bonanza!!!
- So, 11+61+50 means the magical figure of 100 can be exceeded. Wow! And I am not even taking into account all the pre-match and post-match inventory. And lunch time too. Or Hotstar. But that is all small change compared to the rates on the main fixture.
So are the guys at Star rejoicing? Well, yes, I am sure. But praying too. With the New Zealand match already washed out today, a repeat of the rainy weather could mean that all of the Rs. 100 crores could just vanish! Kaput.
So let us hope and pray that the much hyped Mauka Mauka match happens, runs it full course and takes the commerce of cricket to new highs. It will be good for the game, good for the broadcaster and of course good for the billion fans in India. A Rs. 100 crore revenue from one match will surely set new records for the business. And make sports broadcasting an even more lucrative domain.
All I can do is invoke Lord Indra, God of Thunder and Rain, to stay back home and watch an epic contest on TV and let Goddess Lakshmi, Goddess of Wealth, to be present on the grounds to do the honours!
Dr. Sandeep Goyal is a cricket enthusiast who also loves the commercial dimension of the sport.