ITV and TalkSport celebrate as England qualify for Rio 2014 World Cup

ITV: England footballer Steven Gerrard celebrates after scoring the second goal against Poland
ITV: England footballer Steven Gerrard celebrates after scoring the second goal against Poland

Commercial media owners ITV and TalkSport were among those celebrating England football team's 2-0 victory over Poland last night, with qualification for next year's Fifa World Cup in Brazil promising summer lifts in advertising.

In less than eight months, eyes will turn to Rio de Janeiro as it hosts the biggest, single sporting event in the world. The inclusion of the England squad, led by Roy Hodgson, could be worth as much as £30 million in advertising and sponsorship revenues to ITV, according to analyst Numis.

In total, the broadcaster has 33 live games, of which 32 are exclusive. The sponsorship covers the broadcast and has an extensive supporting multiplatform package that can be tailored to its partner.  

Dan Clays, managing director of OMD, noted: "During the last Fifa World Cup back in June 2010, ITV’s advertising revenue increased by a massive 43.6% year on year during the tournament in South Africa.

"For Rio 2014, there is a significant upside on sponsorship with the asking price for the ITV package on the market for £9-10 million. Rivals Channel 4 and Channel 5 are likely to suffer on male audiences, but can try and make some of ad spend back by appealing to female audiences."

ITV attracted a peak audiece of 11 million for the England game last night, and made an early appeal to potential brands looking to get closer to the World Cup today by highlighting its sponsorships opportunities. They were told it is a "chance to elevate your brand and own the World Cup 2014 from within your category", with the promise "you don’t just get to join the conversation – you get to help set the conversation".

"The World Cup 2014 really is going to be the very best ever – particularly for a sponsor," said Bhavit Chandrani, ITV’s controller of sponsorship sales.

"Nothing draws a bigger audience than England in a World Cup (literally nothing). Nothing captures the nervous mood of our nation more than our hopes being played out on an international scale. There’s nothing like a 20 million audience watching live – the anticipation in the build up, the endless pub and social media chatter, the pouring over stats, the sense of watching together like you really are part of something big.

"Sponsoring ITV’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup is an incredible opportunity.  It’s a commercial opportunity that exists only every four years… Uniquely for a tournament so far away, almost all of the games are in peak. ITV has first pick which means we’re likely to have two England group games and assuming England get through, probably their first knock out game as well.

"That means that bucket loads of people will be watching (42m watched last time) and will do so live and with others. The World Cup also pulls in a high proportion of men. So it’s a perfect sponsorship vehicle to reach lots of people, but also to target hard-to-reach audiences."

In radio, sports specialist TalkSport has just signed-up to be one of the exclusive World Cup rights holders, with plans to broadcast live from Brazil throughout the tournament.

Adam Mills, commercial director at TalkSport, was unable to comment on the rights deal, which is yet to be officially confirmed, but said: "England qualifying for the World Cup is brilliant news for the sport and for us. There will be a much bigger focus on what media opportnities are out there for next summer, and we would like to think that commercially we can offer many attractive packages."

Alan Brydon, managing partner of Investment at Havas Media, said: "England qualifying will have a number of effects, some rationally based and some emotional. There is of course no doubt that June/July spends will go up as a result in several media, most notably ITV, but I think that a fair bit of it could be rephasing of spends, rather than genuinely incremental.

"So event sponsors will probably spend extra money, but retailers will probably rephase spends away from other times of the year. Bookmakers will probably find extra money, safe in the knowledge that the interest levels - and the evening UK timings - will be ideal for online punters.

"I think that newspapers will definitely suffer from the rephasing effect. Actually another great summer of weather is probably key for them as much as the World Cup, given their massive dependance on retailers. Having said all that, the emotional 'feel good' factor will of course kick in (Andros Townsend hat trick in the final?), and so long as England do well, heart could rule head in marketing departments, as well as in my house."

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