B Y THE time you read this, the country will be glued to the run-up to Friday's face off. Tonight, India take on Sri Lanka in what everyone knows is a do-or-die game — only as far as India's Cup campaign goes, not anything else. Even as I write this, my thoughts are with my friends and colleagues in the Caribbean, I know just what it feels like to be in this situation, on a stage as big as the World Cup. The fi- nal nets session will perhaps be more serious than usual and some- what subdued, the seniors and coach will discuss strategy through the day and everyone else will try and fill the rest of the hours by doing whatever they can do. There will be early dinners, some will hardly sleep, a few will have fitful dreams. There will be a fair bit of jitteri- ness, some nervous laughter and sil- ly jokes. And even while everyone will tell everyone else to relax and not think about the media or what people back home are saying or do- ing, nonetheless, everyone will think about it and wonder, 'what if ?' In pressure terms, there is nothing like being an Indian cricketer. For while we receive overwhelming love and support from our fans and are thankful for what the game and those who support it give to us, this obses- sive following also has a fanatical edge that can be quite chilling. I will not forget the thoughts that raced through my head when the news of the vandalising of my Alla- habad home reached me when things weren't going well for us during the last World Cup in South Africa.
A MAJOR amount of advertis- ers' money will be at stake in the India-Lanka match on Friday . According to Mindshare In- sights, broadcasters have pegged between Rs 100 and Rs 150 crores on the game. This estimate is based on a base figure of pur- chase of adspace on the package of 12 matches (9 India matches, 2 semifinals and a final) or a pack- age of 27 matches (all matches the Super 8 stage onwards). In anticipation of the big busi- ness opportunity that an event like the World Cup affords, premi- ums were built in at the time of selling airtime. Punitha Aru- mugam, Group CEO, Madison Me- dia, said, "It all depends on how much inventory Sony has kept aside. Probably 5 to 10 per cent of the inventory may be affected." Arumugam said if India don't make it to the Super 8, most of the clients may consider resolving the issue by re-opening deals. However, there is a larger con- cern that surrounds the tourna- ment. According to Shashi Sinha, CEO, Lodestar Universal, "There are many launches that are riding on cricket." He adds that cricket and entertainment are the only things that deliver big in India and if India fail to go through, the status of cricket as a great deliv- ery platform will be in question. Sinha also feels that there will be an industry- wide issue of the premi- um that was built in in anticipation of higher viewership, which may be affected in case India lose. He feels that the pre- mium will be magnified by the extent of 20 per cent. Around 4500 to 5000 seconds a day have been reportedly sold at a rate of Rs 1.5 lakhs to Rs 2 lakhs per 10 seconds. Spots for India matches and other key matches would have been sold at higher rates. If India don't get through the Super 8 stage, there will be six matches that they would not be playing. Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman & National Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather India, made an important point. "It has to be noted that money invested in the players is not just for the World Cup but for the whole year," he said. "Additional- ly, people have gone into the con- tracts with their eyes wide open. There was no guarantee offered at that time. You win some, you lose some." Television manufac- turers may also be hit if Friday's match produces an unfavourable result. LG expects to sell close to 6 lakh television sets dur- ing the World Cup. How- ever, in case India lose, it may not be that easy The . DTH players seem to have acquired quite a few subscribers before the World Cup by wooing them with free subscription of- fers. A total of Rs 1000 - Rs 1500 crores have been pumped into marketing activities in and around the World Cup. firstname.lastname@example.org 2l Rs akhs The average cost of 10 seconds of ad space on TV during a World Cup match telecast.