Rebecca Hawkes ©RapidTVNews | 27-07-2011

Revenues for cricket-related TV advertising in India have so far exceeded INR 2,000 crore this year, with ad slots thought to already account for a massive 20% of the total TV marketing budget in 2011.

According to the country’s Financial Express, ad revenues of about INR 1,500 crore were reportedly generated by the ICC Cricket World Cup and the Indian Premier League (IPL) twenty20 (T20) tournament earlier this year; equalling the usual total annual spend on cricket related coverage.

Five top sports channels – which include Star Cricket, Ten Cricket, SetMax and Neo Cricket – reported that in 2010 cricket generated a total of INR 1,300 crore in advertising revenue.

Now, with India’s tour of England, this year’s cricketing bonanza continues on TV; drawing both audiences and advertisers as the South Asian team battles to regain top spot in the international cricket standings.

ESPN Star Sports, the broadcast rights holder for the two month long England v India cricket series, says it has commitment worth INR 180-200 crore from over 40 brands. During the tour, which began last Thursday, India and England will play four test matches, five one day internationals and one T20 game.

Some media buyers believe, however, the high spend on cricket will adversely impact other television genres in India this year.

“TV news, English entertainment and movie channels may see a dip in their share of ad revenue after numbers are computed at the end of 2011. Advertisers can hike their ad budgets for TV to only a certain level and in line with the overall industry growth,” Tarun Nigam, executive director (India-North), Starcom Mediavest, told Financial Express. “So juggling with other genres is the only choice left.”

Other media agencies are less concerned. Shashi Sinha, chief executive of Lodestar UM, points to an annual growth rate of 12-15% for the Indian advertising industry which, he told the publication, “translates into INR 1,500 crore of extra ad budgets allocated for TV”