Cricket is expected to provide a bonanza for advertisers in India this year, as fans tune in to big ticket domestic and global tournaments, but the flipside for broadcasters is that they may not be able to secure the highest ad rates.

According to ESP Properties, GroupM’s sports and entertainment marketing agency, consumption of cricket on TV and digital will break all records in 2019, especially during the first half of the year.

Australia is currently on tour in India, the two-month Indian Premier League opens on 23rd March and then the ICC Cricket World Cup, hosted this year by England and Wales, starts on 30th May and runs through to 14th July.

“2019 will be a year for sports and entertainment,” said Vinit Karnik, business head at ESP Properties India, in comments reported by Exchange4media.

“With cricket on our minds for more than half the year, brands would want to revolve their game around the sport and the athletes,” he added.

The ESP Properties report also forecast a major boost for the sports tourism sector with a record number of Indian fans expected to travel to the UK for the World Cup.

And it further forecast that storytelling will be one of the biggest marketing trends of 2019 with sports fans, led by cricket, wanting to engage with each other, their sporting heroes, as well as brands, via social media.

Brands which use athletes and their storytelling power will garner “massive interest” from fans and advertisers because of mass media exposure via TV and one-to-one engagement though social communities, the report said.

However, while the IPL in March and the Cricket World Cup in the summer are likely to attract maximum advertising revenue, broadcasters may find adspend reduces for other events later in the year, the Economic Times reported.

“With almost 30-40% more cricket this year, it will be a good opportunity for advertisers to negotiate and get better price as we already see in the ongoing India-Australia series,” said Vineet Sodhani, CEO at media audit firm Spatial Access. “Cricket will sell, but broadcasters may not be able to get the best price.”

Sourced from Exchange4media, Economic Times; additional content by WARC staff