The rains disrupt cricket teams, fans and advertisers alike. In particular, this Asia Cup witnessed a lot of disruptions allegedly because of bad scheduling and the wrong selection of venues.
If the rains impose the Duckworth Lewis-Stern method and eventually point sharing in case of a complete washout, it activates the ‘MG plan’ for marketers who lost viewers' engagement opportunities.
The DLS method (Duckworth-Lewis-Stern) is a mathematical formulation used to help decide the winning side in an unavoidable situation for the team batting second in limited-overs cricket.
According to Shashank Srivastava, Senior Executive Director, Marketing and Sales, Maruti Suzuki, no specific discussions are underway for Asia Cup regarding compensation as it is a normal practice for broadcasters to offer compensation in the form of 'make goods' (MG) for washed-out matches (in part or full) to any of the sponsors/advertisers.
"Despite curtailed matches (2nd India versus Pakistan match being almost a full match with reserve day coming into play), the campaigns have been delivered successfully on the back of higher than expected viewership," he added.
However, Krishnarao Buddha, Senior Category Head of Marketing, Parle Products, asserted, “Talks around compensations are already ongoing and there is a possibility that the broadcaster may start giving certain solutions. So far, nothing has been materialised but shortly we will be able to reach a solution.”
He said that this isn't the first occurrence of its kind. Past instances of washout games have occurred as well. When such situations arise, the common approach is to implement an MG plan.
Explaining the compensation process, Buddha said, “This is especially necessary when circumstances are beyond one's control. Suppose a full 50-over game does not get completed and the remaining part of the scheduled content is left unfulfilled, advertisers view this as a loss. They may have been targeting a specific audience and if the match is called off after, say, 35 overs due to rain or other factors, it represents a missed opportunity.”
According to Buddha, typically the way marketers look at such a situation is how are the broadcasters going to compensate for it. There is no penalty as such for that because it's not done intentionally and even the broadcaster or BCCI do not have control over such occasions. As a result, the only sort of recourse is to go for an MG.
Dhiraj Khanna, Associate Vice-President and Cluster Head - Project Management, DDB Mudra Group said that any FCT losses resulting from a cricket match suspension due to weather conditions will be compensated for in the next similar cricket match without fail.
He explained that there are two kinds of compensation within the existing tournament: FCT carried within upcoming similar cricket teams matches or FCT carried within different upcoming cricket teams matches with additional FCT to match the reach and GRP loss.
On being asked how concerned are marketers about the return on investment (ROI), Buddha said that ROI is definitely reduced.
On the other hand, Srivastava said, “There is no specific reason for marketers to get concerned as long as the committed/planned deliveries happen across TV/OTT. Both matches have presented enough opportunities for the brands to make a mark. While a full match obviously is great news, curtailed matches are not completely unexpected considering that the majority of the matches are ending earlier than expected in ODIs.”
“In fact, Disney+Hotstar (OTT) has broken its own concurrency record of 2.5 crore viewers with 2.8 crore concurrent viewers exactly when Virat Kohli reached his century in the second India versus Pakistan game on the reserve day,” he added.
Srivastava also explained the general mechanism through which brands and sponsors seek compensation for lost exposure in sports events like the Asia Cup.
“For campaigns under deliveries, typically every broadcaster/platform offers MG in similar matches. In this case, for example: For India versus Pakistan’s first washout game, MG was offered in terms of additional inventory for the next India versus Pakistan game. In worst cases, such MGs can even be extended to the next series, in this case, inventory on World Cup 2023,” Srivastava said.
On being asked if marketers foresee any changes in the structuring of sponsorship agreements for future cricket tournaments, given the unpredictability of weather-related disruptions, Srivastava said that BCCI generally takes care of these things before preparing the annual schedule. This time, the venue was a last-minute change even for the Asia Cup and weather disruptions have happened.
“However, this is also a learning for the board and we are sure they will take note of this in future as well, as broadcasters hardly have any say in this,” he added.
Khanna said, "There is always a clause which is mentioned that in case of an event being cancelled or suspended due to weather conditions, either of the concerned parties won't be held responsible. It’s a situation of loss not only for the advertisers but also for the Event Governing bodies as well as the Channel promoting the event.”