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How Star Sports is upping the game for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019

The country is once again gripped by cricket fever as the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 commences today (May 30) with the opening match between host England and South Africa. Star Sports is all geared with a plethora of content around the tournament. The sports broadcaster has been engaging with fans in a unique way to promote the tournament. Driving the core campaign thought – #CricketKaCrown – the network unveiled the first phase of the #LeJayenge activation in the week of May 20 across cities in India. 

Phase one of the activation had auto drivers in multiple cities holding placards stating ‘Le Jayenge’, inviting passengers to ride with them to their destination. During the commute, auto drivers and passengers were encouraged to talk to each other which resulted in conversations around the ICC Cricket World Cup and the anticipation to see India bring the #CricketKaCrown to India. 

Read more: Star Sports launches 3rd season of 'Follow the Blues'

The second phase of the activation will begin on June 5 in Mumbai, when India will start their World Cup campaign against South Africa. The broadcaster has tied up with BEST buses, which will provide free rides to passengers across 3 prime routes in Mumbai, allowing them to get home in time to enjoy the Live action on the Star Sports network. Drivers will be holding a placard, inviting passengers for a free ride to their destination. 

Meanwhile, the coverage of ICC CWC has already begun on the Star Sports network with the first broadcast of the warm up game. At 1.30 pm on May 30, Star Sports will air its flagship show ‘Philips Hue Cricket Live’. A special series, ‘Follow the Blues’, covering the journey of Team India will be a part of the show and will air on every India match day at 9 am on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports 1 Hindi. There will also be a daily segment of ‘Follow the Blues’ at 2 pm on Philips Hue Cricket Live on the Star Sports network. 

For avid cricket connoisseurs, the #SelectDugout is back for the India warm up games, opening day (May 30), on all Sundays and India match days. 

Fans can watch all the action Live on: Star Sports1 SD/HD – Star Sports2 SD/HD - Star Sports1 Hindi SD/HD – Star Sports Select1 SD/HD – Star Sports1 Tamil – Star Sports1 Telugu –  Star Sports1 Kannada – Star Sports1 Bangla – Asianet Plus. 

In conversation with Adgully, Gautam Thakar, CEO, Star Sports, speaks at length about the various programming initiatives for ICC World Cup, the marketing strategy, the advertisers on board an much more. Excerpts:  

What specific programming initiatives have you planned around the ICC World Cup 2019?
At Star Sports, we take a lot of pride in creating some compelling content customised for all type of audiences. We did that successfully during the recently concluded Vivo IPL and the numbers (338 billion minutes of consumption) are a testament to that. 

To begin with, we have 90 minutes of dedicated pre-show on all match days. 

Our programming plans for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 include:

Philips Hue Cricket Live – With its unparalleled reach, Cricket Live, Star Sports’ flagship show is a hit amongst the masses since its inception. The show, its anchors and experts appeal to a large base of cricket fans across India. For the upcoming ICC Cricket World Cup 2019, Star Sports aims to take the overall surround programming a notch above, enhancing the overall TV viewing experience for the fans across the country.

Fab 15 – A show dedicated to the players in the Indian squad who will be fighting for the crown of cricket this summer in England & Wales.

Follow the Blues – A show that tracks all the funny & serious moments from India’s tour to England & Wales. As a part of the show, we also telecast Ravi Shastri and Virat Kohli’s press conference ahead of team’s departure to the UK.

Game Plan – A preview show with experts previewing India and all the teams who will battle it out for the crown of cricket at the ICC CWC 2019 later this year.

ICC World Cup Cricket Countdown – Will cover the best of the cricketing action from the week (Archival footage till tournament starts).

Match Point and Game Plan – Will run every match day during ICC WC 2019. The show will have Star Sports experts for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 talk about the team strategy, SWOT, player analysis, etc.

Fanatic – This show will feature a panel discussion with Boria Majumdar as the host and cricketing greats like Gavaskar, Sourav, Akram, Clarke, etc.

Indian Cricket Heroes – A show dedicated to providing a platform to recognise and reward performers around the World. This will be hosted by Farhan Akhtar and Shibani Dandekar.

Women Presenters – Star Sports has taken the bold step of having four women front the English coverage of ICC CWC 2019. This is probably the first time that coverage of a World event of this stature is being fronted by women. Mayanti Langer, Isa Guha, Seema Jaswal, Sanjana Ganesan and Priyadarshini will bring the World Cup to millions of TV and Digital screens across India. The four musketeers will anchor our pre, mid and post shows, Game Plan/ Matchpoint and drive reportage from UK, which includes the now-established brand - Follow the Blues. 

How are you whipping up the World Cup frenzy through your campaigns?
The marketing campaign around the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 will be supplemented by a series of on-ground activations in various parts of the country, starting with the multi-city ‘Le Jaayenge’ campaign, where this World Cup Season Star Sports is ensuring that there is no more hassle for the commuters using public transport by tying up with local auto rickshaws and taxis to ensure hassle free rides for commuters, which has already been initiated by Star Sports. 

The second phase of the ‘Le Jaayenge’ campaign will include buses that will ply from high commute areas in Mumbai and provide free rides to passengers in Mumbai, allowing them to get home in time to enjoy the live action of the matches on Star Sports. 

Another campaign initiated by Star Sports for the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is the Mitti Campaign, whereby in four city shoots, the crew will travel to the grounds where the Indian players started playing cricket and collect the blessings from their home ground in form of the Mitti. Furthermore, Star Sports talent Jatin Sapru will be handing over the Blessing Jars to the Captain of the Indian team. 

Who are the advertisers on board for the World Cup?
The advertisers for ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 include PhonePe, One Plus, Havells, Kamala Pasand, Amazon.com, Amazon Pay, Byju’s, Dream11, MRF Tyres, Pernod Ricard, AMFI, Coca-Cola, Uber, Uber Eats, Mondelez, Oppo, PolicyBazar.com, Paisa Bazaar.com, Acko General Insurance, Ceat Tyres, ICICI Lombard, Royal Challenge Sports Drink, Philips Hue, who have already come on board in multiple capacities. 

What is your digital strategy for the tournament?
We have a 360-degree marketing plan in place for the World Cup. The digital strategy is in sync with the overall marketing plan. 

What kind of viewership growth are you expecting for the 2019 World Cup over the previous World Cup?
We saw the Vivo IPL 2019 smash the records with a total reach of 462 million. The total consumption increased from 300 billion minutes to 338 billion minutes, making it the highest ever in Vivo IPL’s history. For the World Cup, we will continue to provide viewers with the best sports content and we are striving to achieve this goal by introducing an exhaustive set of programming initiatives as per our viewers’ demands and tastes. The Star Sports network continues to provide viewers with regional feeds across seven different languages. Our goal remains the same – to uphold the reputation of India’s leading sports broadcaster and to keep our consumers happy with the kind of content that we telecast, the viewership is automatically on an all-time rise if our consumers are happy with our content and that is our way to go. 

Coming close on the heels of IPL 2019, followed by the 2019 Lok Sabha Elections, do you see some viewer as well as brand fatigue setting in?
I don’t think so, sports as an ecosystem has always been a refresher for viewers – be it Vivo IPL or the ICC Cricket World Cup. Even for brands, ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 is a great platform which has a wide reach. 

After the success of Vivo IPL 2019, I think the confidence and the momentum is high and there is more clarity in the market due to the General Elections being completed. This, combined with the whole excitement for the World Cup, seems like this is going to be a very good season. With a tournament of this stature, we hope to deliver the biggest World Cup ever.

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