Despite the talk, sponsors are unwilling to press the panic button. Hero MotoCorp, one of the biggest players, feels fan fatigue is talked about when India play the weaker sides. “If Pakistan were to come here, people will flock to watch them. The TRP ratings for the Australia series will also be high as viewer interest is high,” said a senior company official.
He felt dwindling numbers during the IPL was restricted to the 4pm match as temperatures at that time in April-May are high. “Turnout for the 8pm matches is generally good,” he said, pointing to the findings of the Repucomm report — a broadcast analysis, which evaluates the exposure the brand is put through. The returns, he claimed, were good.
Latika Khaneja, director, Collage Sports Management, which previously managed Virender Sehwag, calls the dip a passing phase. “The World Cup was an extreme experience where the sponsors spent all their money and the fans their interest. It’s not that cricket has lost dramatically. Given the options cricket offers these days, interest is bound to vary. She opined that Sehwag’s record-breaking 219 at Indore against the West Indies had made a difference.