The English Premier League returned to television sets last week after a 100-day suspension due the ongoing pandemic. Among the rule changes (more substitutes, social distancing on the bench, no handshakes etc), the one that caught the eye the most was the one-minute water break midway between both halves.
In the past, experts have stated that football isn’t an attractive advertising option because of the lack of options for advertisers during the broadcast. All one gets is a half-time break.
The Premier League says that the water break has been added because of players not being allowed to train together during the first two months of the lockout. In the last month there have been group training sessions, giving them enough time to get up to full fitness (teams get lesser time together before the start of an usual season). Then there’s the added reason for the games being played in the England summer, so players need to rehydrate.
But, what this water-break throws up is a chance of two more minutes of advertising during the game at a prime-time, in terms of football matches. So far the Bundesliga (German League) has seen an average of nine minutes per game advertising on television (also airing on Star Sports) according to data shared with Campaign India by TAM Media Research and TAM Sports. We’re awaiting data from them for the Premier League, but a guess should be that it has at least the same amount of advertising minutes. The two-minutes in either half, which have been missed so far could turn out to be game-changers for advertisers and the sport being broadcast in India. The clutter of the half-time advertising will be avoided, where a series of ads play back-to-back in between the half-time analysis.
We probably won’t see an IPL style ‘Ceat Strategic Time Out’ because of Premier League advertising restrictions, but a brand could end up owning it by securing ad slots during the same. Marketers and Star Sports’ sales team have probably taken note and we’re not too far away from ads midway through Premier League games.
With no Live cricket action until mid-next month, it's time for football to seize the opportunity and finally close the gap in India.