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Neo looks at Rs 400 million from Euro 2012

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MUMBAI: Neo Sports Broadcast, the owner and operator of Neo Sports and Neo Prime channels, is looking at Rs 400 million ad revenue from Uefa Euro 2012.

The broadcaster has roped in five sponsors for the 24-day event starting Friday which includes Carlsberg, Cadbury, Intel Zolo smartphone, DHL, and Reliance Netconnect. Neo is looking to add two more sponsors for the event.

"Neo is looking at Rs 400 million from the event," a source said.

The five sponsors have committed an outlay of Rs 35 million each for the event, the source added. For spot buys, the broadcaster is looking at Rs 120,000-140,000 per 10 second spot. Each match will have 40 commercial spots of 10 seconds each.

However, a top media buying executive said Neo could end up with Rs 300 million of ad revenue from the event. "The revenue growth from this edition won‘t be more than 10-15 per cent over the last edition."

ESPN Star Sports, which had televised the event in 2008, had earned an estimated Rs 250 million from the event.

Lodestar COO Anamika Mehta though bullish about the event believes Neo is unlikely to earn Rs 400 million despite an aggressive pitch to advertisers.

"Considering that Euro happens to be in a Cricket-free (India playing) period, Euro offers a good opportunity to advertisers to engage with the youth-sports-audience. However, post heavy investments by most advertisers during IPL and a loaded Cricket calendar post July, and bearing in mind the steep entry cost by Neo, Euro may not gather as many takers across categories," Mehta contended.

Euro 2012, which is considered to be the second biggest football event after the Fifa World Cup, will be held from 8 June to 1 July and will be telecast on Neo Prime, which was recently rebranded to an all sports channel from its earlier avatar of being a cricket dedicated channel.

However, she also adds that Football owing to its format and stickiness factor is a winner for advertisers. The fact that it has a lower entry barrier compared to dominant sports cricket only adds to its advantage.

"Though football does not allow as many branding opportunities as Cricket, however football owing to its shorter format and higher ‘stickiness‘ quotient offers an opportunity to engage the youth through an association with the event which is integrated with the content - offers lot of opportunity to drive marketing activations for core sponsors,"

"Secondly vis a vis cricket the entry costs are far lower hence despite small ratings at an overall level the ROI works in favor alongside helping brands in India to associate with the young India."

The event will have a total of 31 matches featuring 16 top teams from Europe divided in four groups.

Besides television, the tournament will also be streamed live on video portal istream.com for the Indian market while leading telecom operator Airtel has bagged the exclusive mobile video rights.

Neo has also entered into a sub-licensing agreement with sports management company Sporty Solutionz, which has roped in Bangladesh media company Maasranga Communications to exclusively broadcast the event in Bangladesh.

Neo had in August last year acquired the rights for Uefa Euro 2012 by bidding $11 million overcoming competition from incumbent rights holder ESPN Star Sports and Ten Sports. ESS had bid $4 million for the rights while Ten Sports ended up as the runner-up with a bid of $6 million.

As part of its programming around the event, Neo Prime has signed up French football legend Frank Leboeuf for preview shows and wrap around content which will be hosted by Radhakrishnan Sreenivasan. The preview shows will feature Leboeuf along with celebrity football fans from different walks of life.

The former Chelsea defender will also be involved with several on ground initiatives including football clinics, contests and meet and greet with fans apart from on air programming on Neo Prime.

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