If I were to ask you what runs through the veins of every Indian, undoubtedly you would say cricket, with Bollywood perhaps being a close runner-up. This sport is so infused in every household that it comes as no surprise when we hear the great Sachin Tendulkar occupying a pedestal equal to Ganesha.This is among the few things that the British left us that we have kept alive as a tradition and accepted as a part of our daily lives. Kids find role models in Sachin, Dhoni and Virat; tired husbands find joy in Dhoni’s helicopter shots and business negotiations find common ground in high glass stadium boxes.

Though this high continues through the year, it reaches its zenith at the ICC World Cup held every 4 years. This should come as no surprise since the World Cup format alone accounts for 105 million viewers over a mere period of 45 days. No wonder advertisers line up months in advance before channels and publishers to book ad spots and ground sponsorship for this highly watched sport. While average television advertising rates would be about Rs.1.25 lakh for a 10-second commercial, the same goes up to a staggering Rs. 25 lakhs for a 10 second commercial during the cricket World Cup finals.

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According to a report by the ICC, the advertising spend on the cricket World Cup 2011 was estimated to be around Rs. 2,000 crores and this is only expected to double this year.

In fact, India’s largest consumer durables manufacturer – LG, the official sponsors of ICC CWC 2014, have already spent Rs. 700 crore on World Cup promotions. They not only claim that their TV sales boost at least 50-60% during the cricket season, but also that these activities help build a stronger brand equity. With only a handful of businesses being able to afford such massive spends on a single event how must the rest milk this great cash cow?

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Well, as my grandmother would say, “If you can’t get ghee out with a straight finger, get a spoon boy!” and this golden spoon to our can of ghee is mobile. According to the Business Standard, when cricket buffs are not watching this sport on TV, they are busy playing it on their mobile phones. Alok Kejriwal, the Founder and CEO of Games2Win, one of the biggest mobile game developers in India, said that after the World Cup’11 victory, there was a huge resurgence of arm-chair cricketers. Their cricket games saw a 64% increase in downloads during and post the World Cup. With 80% of all smartphone users in India spending 20-35 minutes daily playing games on their mobile phones this medium offers a very cost effective and viable solution for pocket friendly businesses.

M A Ramachandran, Head of Mobile Operations at Chennai-based KrishCricket, founded by former India captain Krishnamachari Srikkanth, said that information apps fare better than games in terms of downloads (60:40) but most time spent is still on games (20:80). With massive engagement times through games and apps, advertisers only need to shell a handful of their total budget to reach the same kind of audience.

An advertiser pays for an ad spot on television irrespective of whether the desired audience saw it or not. The benefit on mobile is that the advertiser enjoys the luxury to pay for viewed ads AND can also cherry pick the audience that he wants to show the ad to.

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So if you are thinking about how to use the cricket fever to your benefit and spread awareness about your products, don’t just limit yourself to TV spots or mobile websites. Go explore the world of mobile games and ‘get your brand in your customer’s hand!’

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PS – If you are interested in branding within games and maximising your reach, we at GreedyGame have spent sweat and time curating a list of the hottest games for you to advertise in. The games have been curated based on
1) Penetration i.e. downloads
2) Engagement quality (comments & game rating)
3) Available advertising space

You can check them out at: http://greedygame.com/cricket/