Max goes max with Champions Trophy

MUMBAI: Just how strong a pull cricket is in India can be gauged by this piece of news. The Champions Trophy in England is still over two months away but already Max has sold out the sponsorship slots.


"Maruti and Samsung are the presenting sponsors, while there are six other (associate) sponsors. Over the last three to four weeks, we have fully booked the tournament and have been able to raise the benchmarks in terms of rates,? Sony Entertainment TV India?s ad sales and revenue management head Rohit Gupta said, adding that the company had been out in the market selling spots for the last three months.

Gupta further added that Sony used the cricket World Cup, instead of the last Champions Trophy in 2002, as a benchmark. ?The World Cup is what we look at and our ad rates are higher than that,? he said, claiming that when Set Max airs cricket, it is bigger than the others.

"When India and Pakistan played on Max it gave a rating of 23-24. We package Extra Innings to attract new viewers. Most channels do not market cricket (though ESPN Star Sports may have different view on it). We do marketing activities like gully cricket with Mandira Bedi. That is the value advertisers see, " Gupta pointed out.

Another factor that helped SET India in selling out sponsorships for Champions trophy was that Max had, in the past also, managed to attract ratings for non-India cricket. The bar had been raised to over four in the ratings. Before the World Cup it was 1.5. During the World Cup in South Africa last year in February and March across 54 matches it was 6.5.

The Holland Tourney in August for which Max recently acquired the rights will be sold separately. The attraction is in having the three top

teams in the world, India, Australia and Pakistan, play. "This has never happened before. The rates here will be even more than the Champions Trophy. It will as big as the India-Pakistan series in terms of viewership. It is not some small tournament that will lead to the Champions Trophy," Gupta said.

As far as AXN and HBO are concerned, Gupta said that the ad rates for the channels had gone up by 15 per cent and had been going up over the past four quarters.

?AXN is really rocking well with shows like Fear Factor and Guinness World Records. Youngsters are increasingly taking to the reality genre. AXN's (ratings) deliveries are higher than MTV and Channel (V),? Gupta said.

Gupta is also gung ho about the proposed India-Pakistan Challenge on AXN. ?We are currently closing deals with sponsors and would be having loads of promotional activity around this. We will shortly reveal the kind of sports involved as well as the cities we will visit". Gupta further admitted that Animal Planet and Nickelodeon were not significant contributors to the ad revenue kitty.

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