ESS targets 8 sponsors for Indo-Pak series

MUMBAI: Sports broadcaster ESPN Star Sports is looking at roping in eight sponsors for the blockbuster India-Pakistan series

comprising 3 ODIs and two T20s.

The sportscaster has already got one sponsor on board for the series which will be held from 25 December to 6 January. “We are looking at two co-presenting and six associate sponsors. We have just gone to the market with it and have got one sponsor," said ESPN Software India MD Aloke Malik. He, however, did not name the sponsor.

ESS is eyeing Rs 2 billion ad revenue from the India-England series involving 4 Tests, 5 ODIs and 2 T20s. "We have sold 90 per cent of our ad inventory for the series," said Malik, while declining to talk about the revenues.

Meanwhile, ESS will kick off its second multimedia campaign in a couple of weeks. It will rest on the search for a new Indian hero which India’s home season will throw up. The focus of the first multimedia campaign rested on the fact that three stalwarts - Laxman, Dravid and Ganguly - are no longer a part of the team and whether India can still beat England. The theme is ‘Kya Team India Baja Payengee’.

Malik said that the campaigns had been conceptualised based on consumer insights. “The campaign is tactical. People haven’t forgotten the drubbing that India received in England. We have shot creatives also with Shane Warne (the legend spinner inked a 3-year contract for commentary with ESS).”

The focus of Warne’s creatives is that the viewer doesn’t want to know about his achievements or the peripheral things happening. He wants to know how the game is unfolding and why the game is changing direction. "Also the fact is that Warne has his own persona. He is fortright in his views," Malik said.

Warne noted that 85 per cent of India’s cricket viewers would want commentary in Hindi. “That is why it is great that they have Hindi commentary. ESPN Star Sports’ commentary team is sensational. My aim is to provide an insight into tactics and what I would do if I was in the batsman or in the captain’s shoes," he said.

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