The recent Cricket World Cup 2023 (CWC’23) has proven to be a boon for the advertising industry, generating a substantial boost in ad revenue. Industry estimates indicate that the tournament has brought in over Rs 3,000 crore in advertising revenue, surpassing expectations and setting a new benchmark for sporting events in India.
Several factors have contributed to this surge in ad spending. The tournament’s timing, coinciding with the festive season in India, has further fueled the advertising frenzy. The festive period is typically a time when brands increase their marketing efforts to capitalize on consumer spending habits.
Another significant factor is the increased prominence of digital media in the advertising landscape. Digital platforms, such as social media, streaming services, and online advertising, have provided brands with a wider reach and more targeted advertising opportunities. The CWC’23 has effectively leveraged these digital channels to maximize its ad revenue potential.
The tournament’s high viewership and strong engagement from cricket enthusiasts have also played a role in attracting advertisers. The immense popularity of cricket in India has ensured that the CWC’23 has been a major spectacle, capturing the attention of millions of viewers. This has made it an attractive platform for brands to reach their target audience and generate brand awareness.
Rahul Satoskar, Chief Investment Officer at EssenceMediacom India, highlights that the confluence of the ICC World Cup and the festive season prompted a bullish stance among advertisers across various sectors, including auto, BFSI, fintech, beverages, mobile handsets, and retail.
Satoskar notes that companies typically allocate a significant portion, ranging from 10% to 20%, of their annual advertising budgets for impactful events like the ICC World Cup and IPL. Some businesses have even gone beyond this range, dedicating up to 30% of their annual budgets to capitalize on the advertising potential of these high-impact properties.
Additionally, the fact that India was hosting the tournament after a gap of 12 years further fueled advertisers’ enthusiasm. Whether the matches are played in India or abroad, ICC World Cups attract incremental advertising spending due to their ability to reach diverse target audiences. This is achieved by scaling up both reach and frequency through various media channels such as TV and digital platforms, along with multiple language feeds including Hindi, English, and regional languages.
Satoskar emphasizes that the positive impact of ICC World Cups extends beyond traditional sectors, influencing the advertising landscape for hospitality businesses like restaurants and pubs, as well as sectors like snacks and beverages, TV sets, and more recently, food delivery services. These related categories experience a notable surge in advertising expenditures during World Cup events, contributing to the overall economic boost generated by the tournament.
Television Vs Digital
The allocation of advertising budgets between television (TV) and digital platforms varies among brands, with some focusing predominantly on digital while others opt for TV-centric strategies. New and emerging brands seeking rapid awareness often find TV effective, while digital offers efficient frequency at an affordable price.
The 2023 Cricket World Cup has significantly boosted the Connected TV (CTV) audience base, with around 30 million viewers estimated to be watching on CTV. Digital advertising rates for the World Cup saw a substantial increase, contributing to higher digital revenues, estimated at around Rs 350 to Rs 380 crores. Despite TV’s enduring popularity, digital viewership has grown significantly, resulting in a roughly equal split between television and digital. Traditional mediums, including print, outdoor, and on-ground promotions, also saw increased synergy without cannibalization during the World Cup.
Boost for other mediums as Well
Bhasin highlights that substantial investments are directed towards TV, digital, print, outdoor, and on-ground promotions. A noteworthy trend this year is the harmonious collaboration across various mediums without any negative impact. The World Cup has become a valuable content opportunity for print and radio, fostering brand sponsorships and unique properties around the event.
While Kumar suggests that the benefits for other mediums are not overwhelmingly significant, Out-of-Home (OOH) advertising has seen substantial gains. Brands such as Swiggy Instamart, Royal Challengers, and TATA Mutual Fund have successfully rolled out contextual ads during the World Cup. According to Rohit Chopra, COO of Times OOH, the World Cup being hosted in India has heightened the focus on OOH advertising, particularly in capturing the live stadium experience for the audience. The demand for stadium tickets has been exceptional, making OOH an ideal medium to connect with cricket lovers who share a common interest and are physically present at the same location.
This year, brands have employed unique strategies, targeting key transit areas leading to stadiums. Airports, in particular, have been a central focus for brands, capitalizing on the travel of cricketers, celebrities, and high-profile individuals to different match locations. Additionally, strategic routes leading to stadium venues have been chosen to enhance brand relevance and recall.
During high-profile matches like India vs. Pakistan in Ahmedabad, digital billboards managed by Times OOH experienced full occupancy, showcasing the effectiveness of this advertising medium. Categories such as automobiles, online gaming, fashion, and lifestyle have taken the lead in the OOH space during the World Cup.