Billed as the clash of erstwhile two top teams in transition, the upcoming India-Australia test series is turning out to be a money spinner for broadcaster Star Sports that has managed to rope in top advertisers, even including Hero MotoCorp, which recently decided to end relationship with IPL and Mumbai Indians.

The broadcaster, which will be airing the Hindi version on its Star Sports channel and English on Star Cricket and Star Cricket HD of the series, has signed up Tata Teleservices, Havells and Hero MotoCorp as joint presenting sponsors.

Besides, it has got on board nine other advertisers, including Maruti Suzuki India, Nokia, Samsung Cameras, Panasonic and Perfetti, as associate sponsors.

According to media buyers, the company is understood to have garnered around Rs 75 crore as advertisement revenue from the four-match test series. The first test will be played in Chennai from February 22-26, second at Hyderabad from March 2-6, third at Mohali from March 14-18 and the last will be played at Delhi on March 22-26.

When contacted, a Star Sports spokesperson said, “We are completely sold out for the India Australia Test series. In fact, over the last 2-3 days we have said no to multiple clients who were keen to leverage the forthcoming test series because we don’t have any inventory left with us.”

Commenting on the advertisers’ response to the series, Platinum Media CEO Basabdutta Chowdhury told PTI, “There is a gradation of cricket series depending on the type of teams involved and the India-Australia series is in the A category.

All the ad spots have been sold out and this gives an idea of the demand from advertisers.”

It is understood that the broadcaster is charging anywhere between Rs 60,000-Rs 70,000 for a ten-second ad spot for the series.

After India’s 1-2 loss to England last year, the first series loss for India at home in eight years, MS Dhoni’s team is under pressure to perform in the absence of stalwarts like Rahul Dravid and VVS Laxman, who have retired.

On the other hand, Australia under Michael Clarke is preparing for one of its biggest series after the retirement of Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey.

Media watchers said the clash of the erstwhile two top teams in transition has all the ingredients for a big series that would attract a lot of viewers and hence it was not surprising to see advertisers flocking in, even including Hero MotoCorp.

Earlier, a spokesperson of Hero MotoCorp had stated that its decision not to renew central contract with IPL and with IPL team Mumbai Indians does not in any way dilute its commitment to cricket as a sport.

“It is the most popular game in the country, and we will continue to remain associated with the game in various forms,” the spokesperson had said.

(This article was published on February 20, 2013)
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