Indian cricket fans are not the only cheerleaders for the country at the Cricket World Cup — advertisers, sponsors and broadcasters are counting on a home triumph to maximize their investment in the tournament. The fate of India, one of the favorites for the tournament which kicked off in Dhaka on Thursday, will determine the value of tens of millions of dollars that have been pumped in as advertising for the Feb 19-April 2 event. Analysts say ESPN Star, which won broadcasting rights, will reserve at least 20% of its ad inventory for last minute sales, hoping to raise rates if India go through.
The 10th edition of the World Cup has so far attracted more than $150 million in advertising revenue, 50% more than the 2007 World Cup, which saw both India and Pakistan making a first stage exit. A repeat of that performance on home ground would mean that any last-minute inventory of slots and tickets would suffer, as would viewership numbers. The International Cricket Council (ICC) said it would help the tournament if top teams like India stay in the competition. While sponsors say they would love it if India go through to the finals and win the World Cup, they also want to make sure they leverage their value, regardless of the home team’s fate.