ESS eyes Rs 550 million from Olympics

MUMBAI: ESPN Star Sports, the official broadcaster of 2012 London Olympics in India, is targeting advertising revenue of Rs 550 million from the 16-day event which will be held from 28 July to 12 August with the opening ceremony on 27 July.

The sportscaster has roped in Tata DoCoMo as co-presenting sponsor while Airtel Digital TV has come on board as the associate sponsor, say sources.

ESS is in advanced stage of negotiations with several other advertisers including the likes of Hero MotoCorp and Samsung, which is a global Olympic sponsor.

ESS is looking at a total of eight sponsors for the event with two co-presenting and six associate sponsors. The sportscaster is betting big on advertisers from beverages, telecom, automobile, and insurance sectors.

ESS is asking Rs 70-85 million for co-presenting sponsors and Rs 60-65 million from associate sponsors, according to a top executive at a media buying agency.

"ESS is expected to make Rs 500-550 million from Olympics," said a source.

ESPN Software India senior director business development and event management group Rathindra Basu admits that selling sponsorships has been a challenging task as there is no previous viewership data to support sales pitch.

"The challenge that we realised in the sales process was that we had no historical data in terms of viewership in the C&S space. Public broadcaster DD did show Olympics four years ago but there was no private broadcaster last time around," Basu avers.

What can work in ESS‘ favour is that there is no cricket featuring Indian team during Olympics. The interest level in London Olympics is also expected to be higher as many Indian athletes across disciplines have qualified for the event.

"Brands who have traditionally been on sports are keen to associate with the event as Olympics typically attract viewership from youth segment particularly the male audience," the executive from the media agency said.

"ESS is offering a full three and a half months of window to sponsors starting with pre-event programming, promotions on ESS channels to the live broadcast of the event and highlights besides logo presence and other integrations. So the return on investment for Olympics works out well," she further reveals.

Agrees Basu, "With huge expectations from Indian contingent this year coupled with the most complete and comprehensive presentation of the Games on our bouquet, we expect London Olympics to be a huge draw in India."

According to Vivaki Exchange CEO Mona Jain, the viewership of Olympics has seen improvement and it has emerged as a viable marketing platform for advertisers who are looking at other sporting events that get viewership.

A case in point is 2010 Commonwealth Games in Delhi which despite all the controversies surrounding it was sampled by 115 million viewers with average ratings of 0.5 TVR on DD1 and DD Sports on the back of encouraging performance by Indian athletes with Indian winning a record 101 medals.

Besides ESS, the event will also be broadcast on DD and DD Sports as the pubcaster had secured the rights from Asia-Pacific Broadcasting Union, a non-profit, professional association of broadcasting organisations, after paying $3 million for acquiring the rights.

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