is getting much bigger in India than it was in 2002, the last World Cup (that
was shown on Ten Sports in India). Over 55 million people have watched the European
League this season," a bullish Venkateish says.
After all, the matches
of the Fifa World Cup, holding centre stage from 9 June to 9 July, have convenient
timings with some starting at 6:30 pm IST just ahead of prime time viewing and
when people would be trooping back from office.
75 million Indians sampled the telecast of World Cup 2002 on Ten Sports and DD
with a cumulative audience reach of 30.2 million in India. For the last World
Cup, which marked the debut of Ten Sports in India, despite its limited spread
in terms of distribution, the channel had ratings of over 50 per cent in places
like Kolkata for the final.
the other hand, ESPN, which aired an India-Sri Lanka cricket ODI on the day the
final match of 2002 WC was played, could muster ratings of just 14-15 per cent.
Euro 2004 continued the growth and had a cumulative audience reach of 32.3 million
viewers in. This interest in soccer in India now touches even EPL that had a reach
of 42.8 million for the season till date, according to ESPN.
means that nearly one in every two individuals in cable homes across India has
sampled the EPL," Venkateish points out, adding that ESS hopes to further
heighten this popularity through Fifa World Cup matches and other related programming.
concurring with Venkateish is ESPN India's vice-president (sales and marketing)
and distribution head Sricharan Iyengar, "For us the Fifa is the biggest
event that any channel could have this year. It's bigger than Indian cricket also."
has made it challenging for ESS is that Indians don't have any direct stake in
the World Cup as India is still far far away from playing in the soccer fiesta.
Any strategy for India would have to keep this in mind so as to make available
the matches in such a manner that it involves Indians and entertains them too.
ESPN India associate director marketing Paras Sharma, "As sports broadcast
leaders, the challenge was to present the World Cup to Indians in a different
way. The marketing strategy has been built up keeping that in mind."
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