Cricket today is as much about the economics as it is about the game itself. Today, it does not matter which part of the world the game of cricket is played in. Advertisers and marketing men have realized that South Asian audience lies at the core of any successful cricketing campaign. This impact was first realized in 1987 when Reliance Industries sponsored the World Cup for the first time in India. Since then, cricket has become big business. Consider some interesting statistics.
Last world cup, which was held jointly in Australia and New Zealand in 2015 estimated to have generated more than Australian $1.1 billion in direct spending and also created the equivalent of 8,320 full time jobs. If one just looks at the impact of the World Cup 2015 on the hotel industry, it created a total of 2 million bed nights in hotels across Australia and New Zealand. Nearly 30% of the audience for all the matches put together were from outside the city where the game was conducted; offering a huge boost to tourism. Interestingly, the bulk of the 1.50 lakh tourists who landed up in Australia and New Zealand to watch the matches were from the Asian sub-continent.
The big business of Asian broadcasting
The World Cup 2015 was watched on television by more than 1.50 billion people; or roughly 22% of the world population. According to the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India (BARC) data, the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 captured 315 million impressions in its opening two weeks on the Star India network from across the country. This is discounting the viewers from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh. That is roughly $5 trillion of purchasing power which underlines the opportunity there.
A look at the spread of companies advertising during the cricket matches, there is a clear domination of Indian companies eagerly looking for eyeballs with purchasing power. Most marketing agencies across South Asia are going a step further and aligning their television plans with their social media plans to make the impact viral and more effective from a sales perspective.
Engaging with the larger audience
For the marketers across South Asia, there are 2 types of Asian audiences to reach out to. Firstly, there are score of them who want to watch the match live but could not get the tickets. Then there is the much larger audience that is content to watch the matches on TV. With a deluge of television and social media, advertisers and media managers across South Asia are realizing that content is king as long as it is relevant.
Why is this so important for India and South Asia? Firstly, South Asia houses the largest cricket obsessed audience in the world with rising purchasing power. Secondly, India is hosting the World Cup in 2023 and the art of reaching out to an audience has vastly changed from the last time it hosted in 2011. But above all, India’s GDP in 2023 would be above $4 trillion and that is a huge potential market and a great opportunity in waiting. It’s time for the broadcasters to innovate and think out of the box for the audience. As we are slowly coming out from the merriment of ICC World Cup 2019 – 2023 is not too far away and that too would be in our backyard!