Companies pad up as World Cup fever comes on

February 24th, 2011 - 12:39 pm ICT by IANS  

By Madhulika Sonkar
New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) From special offers and discounts to new product launches, India Inc is rubbing its hands in glee over the one-and-a-half-month-long World Cup, hoping the cricket fever will translate into higher sales.”We are expecting a 100 percent jump in the sale of TV sets because of World Cup. Samsung sold nearly 3 lakh flat panel TV sets in the first six months of 2010, so the jump can well be calculated,” Ruchika Batra, Samsung’s general manager for southwest Asia, told IANS.

Companies are going all out to woo cricket fanatics for the Feb 19-April 2 extravaganza.

“We are expecting over 40 percent growth in sales in the TV segment during the cricket World Cup. Apart from this, we also have schemes and packages for consumers,” said Anil Arora, chief marketing officer, consumer electronics and home appliances business, Videocon Group.

Companies have also started offering schemes such as ‘win a gold coin’, ‘free direct to home (DTH) services” and other attractive offers.

Yahoo! India, the official online partner for the World Cup, is offering live match updates, match analyses, video content, games and contests for visitors.

“Cricket is the most passionately followed game in India. We have tried to build euphoria around the game by offering web content such as games, personalised profiles, and the option of availing match-trackers through interactive schedulers,” Yahoo! India’s managing editor Prem Panicker said.

Restaurants and bars in the city have also padded up to offer the perfect World Cup experience, complete with live matches, food and drinks.

“We would be pepping up the offers with food and drinks for the nearly two-month long event. The idea is to give the experience of the big screen to cricket fans,” Vivek Ranjan, purchase manager of the Poison Ivy bar in south Delhi, told IANS.

“The offers are better if we have visitors in groups of more than 10. Liquor is a must in all our packages as we are expecting more of the younger lot,” added Ranjan.

The business doesn’t end with the World Cup, as the companies are eyeing the Indian Premier league (IPL) as well.

“We are thinking of a six-month package, considering that the IPL will follow the World Cup. Surely, the fever would not die down,” Batra added.

Fans, however, are more interested in the Indian team’s performance.

“At the end of the day, it’s our team’s performance that will matter. Watching the match in a bar or buying a new TV set would not make that much of a difference,” quipped 18-year-old Arsh Chitkara, a Delhi resident.

“Yes, people can always cash in with all the schemes that are pouring in during the World Cup, but the game has to be interesting,” Chitkara added.

The companies, of course, are hoping for the best of both worlds - great matches and great sales.

“Fans do have hopes and expectations from the Indian contingent, but you can’t ignore the fact that we were crazy about football (during the football World Cup), though we were not competing then,” said Batra.

Corporates are hoping that India does well as the team’s early exit from the tournament will not only leave the fans dejected but may also wreck their sales projections.

“It’s not that people will stop watching cricket if India doesn’t perform well at the World Cup, but a good performance will surely boost their interest and maintain the excitement,” said Arora.

(Madhulika Sonkar can be contacted at madhulika.s@ians.in)

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