As the cricket fever grips the country, Disney Star is expected to rake in ₹3,500 crores in ad revenues broadcasting the Cricket World Cup 2023, according to industry sources. The ICC Men’s Cricket World Cup is set to kick off from Thursday, with the opening match between England and New Zealand. Disney Star has described the tournament to be driving “highest viewership and the largest number of advertisers.”

If Disney Star manages to rake in the revenues projected by industry sources, the ad revenues from the World Cup will be similar to those collected from the most recent edition of the Indian Premier League – which is a marquee event as far as ad cents go.  For the first time ever, two separate broadcasters had the digital and linear TV rights for the IPL. With Disney Star holding onto the linear rights of the event and Viacom18 bagging the streaming rights. Between the two, they are estimated to have collected anywhere between ₹3,500 crore to ₹3,800 crore in ad cents. 

Ajit Varghese, Head of Network Sales at Disney Star told businessline on Monday that the broadcaster has bagged 21 sponsorship deals in the leadup to the World Cup, and around 500 advertisers are already on board, with many more expected to join. 

Experts believe that the bump in ad revenues is caused by the world cup coinciding with festival season, “BCCI struck a master stroke organizing the tournament during the Dussehra, Diwali season. Brands will be eager to advertise their festival offers at the moment,” said Ajimon Francis, Managing Director at Brand Finance. Francis added that brands have also received indication that viewership for the world cup will be solid, as many enthusiastic fans have been unable to get stadium tickets for the tournament, which is being held in India after nearly 12 years.

Fewer viewers

Francis believes that the per slot ad rate for the World Cup will be much lower than that of the IPL. “Disney has to fill up longer slots since the matches are longer. This will also mean that you will have fewer viewers watching at any time.”

Moreover in the present environment, brands have generally been seeking lower ad rates from broadcasters. 

Certain experts have given lower estimates for revenue earnings from the World Cup. Santosh N, Managing Partner at D and P Advisory said, “Only certain matches will enjoy IPL-like viewership. In which India or any of the strong teams such as England and New Zealand would be playing. For the remaining 75 per cent of the matches, viewership will still be sparse and the broadcaster would have a tough time filling slots. Ad revenue could be lower than IPL, around Rs 2500 crore from the tournament.”

“The ICC World Cup 2023 is poised to offer an exceptional cricketing spectacle, drawing the interest of both viewers and advertisers. This tournament wields significant influence over consumer sentiment and acts as a catalyst for growth. Disney Star is fully equipped to provide an unmatched cricketing extravaganza through its programming, offering a captivating viewing experience on both television and digital platforms, creating unforgettable moments for all,” said Varghese. 

To that end, Disney Hotstar is introducing new ways to experience the world cup, such as allowing fans to watch the world cup on their smartphones in the vertical mode.