If Team India make a hasty exit

Published: Friday, March 23, 2007, 23:53 [IST]
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If India fail to reach the Super Eights stage of the World Cup, analysts and businesses have already started to weigh up what the impact would be in the cricket-crazy nation.

The 1983 winners need to beat formidable Sri Lanka in the final Group B match on Friday to stay in contention for one of the two berths.

Indian media were already predicting losses advertising in the World Cup telecast would suffer if the team were knocked out this week.

Times of India newspaper quoted sources in the advertising agencies this week as saying a 10-second slot, which was sold between Rs 250,000 (about 3,000 pounds) to Rs 350,000 (about 4,000 pounds) for matches involving India in the Super Eights may be forced down to less than half if the Indian team fails to qualify.

A shock defeat to Bangladesh in the opening group B match on Saturday led to a possible early exit for India along with sub-continent rivals Pakistan.

But victory by a record margin over debutants Bermuda saw them improve their chances of qualification on net run-rate --- the deciding factor in the event of a three-way tie.

But for that, they need to beat Sri Lanka first.

If India reach the Super Eights, 300 million viewers are expected to tune in for the matches. But if they go out, companies fear the numbers are likely to fall by 60 percent.

Revenue Drop: "Without India in the Super Eights, the television ratings will come down to something between 2.7 to 3 and this will enable the cost-per-rating points to go higher, which will not be conducive to advertisers," M K Machaiah of Mindshare, which deals with media buying and planning, told the same paper.

Restaurant and pub owners around the country, who were cashing in on the late evening live telecast due to time difference, fear a drop of at least 15 per cent in expected revenue if the team flops in the Caribbean.

"It will be disaster in all sense, emotionally and commercially," John D'Souza, manager of Sports Bar in Mumbai told Reuters on Thursday.

"It might have an effect for days to come, a bleeding some where as people have been driven by the huge publicity cricket gets in the country.

"In the earlier days people watched cricket in their homes, but now they don't mind spending in bars and restaurants to watch cricket with others who follow the game as passionately."

A first-round exit would impact sales of items such as colour televisions. Tour operators and travel agents, who were confident a large number of fans would travel to the West Indies if India reached the semi-finals, would also be counting their losses.

But the worst hit will be the ordinary cricket fan who has been gripped by the World Cup frenzy, fuelled by a multitude of television channels and media houses who have touted the team as favourites.

"India will qualify," Niraj Suresh told, keeping faith in his national team.

"The defeat to Bangladesh was just a bad day," said the 27-year-old businessman who stays up through the night to watch India's matches.

"All teams are bound to have bad days. It's part of the game."


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