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Decoding Star Sports' marketing strategy for ICC World Cup 2019

The broadcaster is leaving no stone unturned to make the cricket World Cup the most-watched sports event ever in broadcasting history. BestMediaInfo.com dives deep into the broadcaster's marketing strategy to attract billions of eyeballs across TV and Hotstar

As the Mahakumbh of world cricket kicks off today in London, Star Sports has put in place a global strategy to make Cricket World Cup 2019 among the most-watched sporting events ever.

Since ICC World Cup 2019 is starting two weeks after IPL 2019, some concerns were raised about advertisers’ response as there was a chance of fatigue setting in within the audience. According to an industry expert, India has a great appetite for cricket, so there won't be any negative impact. “In fact, the response is more as the World Cup is being played at a global level and has a much wider reach.”

According to the expert, Star India has received extremely positive response for the World Cup and booked 70% of the ad inventories in advance. The remaining has been kept for the last minute on a surge pricing basis. The ad spots are said to be sold for around Rs 6.5 lakh to 7 lakh for all matches across all channels. Experts believe the last-minute inventory could even be sold at double the advance booking rate, depending on the viewership the event garners and how far India goes in the tournament.

The network has got on board 23 advertisers  such as PhonePe, One Plus, Havells, Kamala Pasand, Amazon.com, Amazon Pay, Byju’s, Dream11, MRF Tyres, Pernod Ricard, AMFI, Coca Cola, Uber, Uber Eats, Mondelez, Oppo, PolicyBazar.com, Paisa Bazaar.com, Acko General Insurance, Ceat Tyres, ICICI Lombard, Royal Challenge Sports Drink and Philips Hue.

Explaining the reach the World Cup could provide to brands, a Star Sports spokesperson said, "The brands today have realised the wide reach ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 offers. With that kind of reach, Star Sports with focussed programming plans will only help augment the reach for any potential brand that is on board with us.”

Star Sports is offering special programming that will start with a 90-minute dedicated pre-show for all match days. The offering includes eight special shows revolving around the World Cup such as Philips Hue Cricket Live, Fab 15, Follow The Blues, Game Plan, ICC World Cup Cricket Countdown, Match Point and Game Plan, Fanatic and Indian Cricket Heroes.

The spokesperson said, “At Star Sports, we take a lot of pride in creating some compelling content customised for all type of audiences. We did that successfully during the recently concluded Vivo IPL and the numbers (338 bn mins of consumption) are a testament to that. Going into the World Cup, our aim is to put content at the heart of everything that we do. With state-of-the-art broadcast and robust programming plans for the World Cup, we are confident that we will cater to all types of audiences. To begin with, we have 90 minutes dedicated pre-show for all match days.”

This year, Star Sports has got women presenters who will front the English coverage. Women presenters such as Mayanti Langer, Isa Guha, Seema Jaswal, Sanjana Ganesan and Priyadarshini will bring the World Cup to millions of TV and digital screens across India.

“This is probably the first time that coverage of a world event of this stature is being fronted by women. They will anchor our pre, mid and post shows, game plan / match point and drive reportage from England which includes the now-established brand, Follow the Blues,” the spokesperson said.

Distribution plans for ICC World Cup 2019

With support from ICC Global Broadcast Partner Star Sports, the tournament will be broadcast live to more than 200 territories via 25 broadcast partners. Star Sports will bring the live telecast in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Kannada, Bangla and Malayalam and Star Sports Select Dugout.

For the first time in ODI cricket, the ICC has partnered with Cineplexes across India, the UAE and Bahrain to broadcast live matches. A selection of matches can be viewed at Inox (India), Novo (UAE & Bahrain) and Reel (UAE) cinemas across the course of the tournament. ICC also continues its partnership with Global Eagle Entertainment (GEE), who through their OceanPrime channel, will reach fans aboard major cruise liners across the world.

The World Cup is scheduled to be held in England and Wales between May 30 and July 14. In the tournament opener, host nation England will face South Africa on May 30.

The channel will start their World Cup campaign against South Africa on June 5 followed by Australia and New Zealand on June 9 and 13, respectively. The much-anticipated clash between India and Pakistan is scheduled to be played on June 16. This season will follow the round-robin format observed 27 years ago during the 1992 cup. This format will give cricket enthusiasts an exciting opportunity to see the maximum number of India matches during a World Cup.

Marketing and promoting ICC World Cup 2019

In order to market and promote the tournament, Star Sports has sketched a 360-degree marketing plan that started with the core thematic campaign for the World Cup, #CricketkaCrown. Bringing the competitive element within the countries during the tournament, the campaign showcases how every team is going to England to get their hands on the crown of Cricket. The network has several fan films in the pipeline and is excited to bring the #CricketKaCrown theme alive, providing a thrilling TV viewing experience for fans across the country.

The campaign includes a creative of MS Dhoni, showcasing his confidence in winning the trophy. With England vs South Africa, it will provide the insight that neither England nor South Africa won the World Cup but this time they will begin the tournament. India vs South Africa features the thought of fun banter between fans, followed by India vs Australia, featuring the route of two of the most successful teams in World Cup Cricket, with an Indian fan showcasing his skills while balancing two World Cup trophies. For the most-awaited India vs Pakistan, the campaign will showcase a banter between an Indian fan and Pakistan fan. And finally, with India vs England, the Indian fan who has been in banter with all the England fans, takes a new route to tease the English.

Star Sport is also initiating two on-ground activations, Le Jayenge and Desh Ki Mitti, to promote the World Cup across markets. The activation will take place in two phases where Le Jayenge will be phase one of the activations. The initiative has auto drivers in multiple cities holding placards, stating Le Jayenge, inviting passengers to ride with them to their destination.

With the Desh ki Mitti is going to England initiative, Star Sports is doing a four-city tour. The channel will go to cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad and Ranchi to collect ‘mitti’ from hometowns for the heroes in England. Jatin Sapru will be giving the mitti jar to Virat Kohli in England.

The second phase will begin on June 5 in Mumbai when India starts their World Cup campaign against South Africa. The spokesperson said, “We have tied up with BEST buses to provide free rides to passengers across three prime routes in Mumbai, allowing them to get home in time to enjoy live action.”

Channel’s game plan for Hotstar

Since 2018, Star India’s OTT platform Hotstar registered a 2x growth in viewership for ODIs, as a result of which the platform is betting big on World Cup 2019.

Varun Narang, Chief Product Officer, Hotstar, said, “Our success in IPL 2019 in terms of viewership and reach is a testament to the platform’s superior standard of live sports streaming. With the cricket behemoth, ICC World Cup 2019, on Hotstar, we aim to continue delivering an uninterrupted and immersive cricket watching experience not just to the domestic consumers, but to global audiences in the US and Canada as well.”

Hotstar will stream the tournament across six languages. Fans in the US and Canada will be able to watch it through Hotstar on the web (us.hotstar.com), Google play store, app store along with living room devices such as Roku TV, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV Stick, Android TV, and Samsung Smart TV.

Furthermore, the streaming platform will take forward the success of the #KoiYaarNahiFar campaign, which was initiated for Vivo IPL 2019. The platform is retaining the social layer with the Watch ‘N Play feature and is aiming to bring people together irrespective of their location. Viewers will get the opportunity to invite their friends and family to the platforms, enabling them to watch the matches and play the Watch ‘N Play game together. The feature will allow viewers to make their voices heard by chatting about the match and share their Watch ‘N Play experience, not only with their friends and family but also experts and celebrities.

Info@BestMediaInfo.com

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