It is not just the fans who would be hoping Dhoni and his boys to deliver the knock-out punch to the Paskitanis in the semi-final clash in Mohali on Wednesday. Advertisers, too, are jostling for space to make the most from the hype surrounding the face-off, despite steep rates.
Official broadcaster ESPN-Star Sports (ESS) has nearly doubled the spot ad rates seeking to cash in on the hype around the marquee match between the men in blue and their arch rivals.
A ten-second ad-spot on the channel during the match will cost between Rs 18-22 lakh— against Rs 12 lakh for the quarter final matches that ended last week.
"There is huge traction amongst advertisers for the India-Pakistan match," said Sanjay Kailash, executive vice-president, ESS India.
Spot ad rates for Wednesday's match are nearly triple of those that were charged during the similar stages of last world held in the Caribbean in 2007.
ESS has kept about 5-7% of ad spots unsold. These will be sold during the match, and depending on the degree of closeness of the match, the rates are expected to rise further.
"There is extremely limited inventory left with us and the rates for them are substantially higher than what they were at the start of the tournament," Kailash said.
Media analysts said the India-Pakistan match is the biggest brand communication opportunity no advertiser is willing to let go.
"Brands are smart enough to calculate that the slot in this match is much more promising than a spending on 15 days inventory across the channels," said Basab Dutta, CEO, Madison India.
Analysts tracking the world cup said Wednesday's match may remain the biggest ad revenue grosser for the broadcaster for the entire world cup.
ESPN-Star Sports won the telecast rights for the world cup for about $2 billion (Rs 9,000 crore).
"Brands present on this semi final will have triple advantage of involvement, passion and action apart from the TRPs," said Sai Nagesh, executive vice president, Dentsu Media.