The Asia Cup 2018 has already seen a bit of controversy even before it began. The Indian sponsors and broadcasters were not happy with the match timings in India. At first, the matches were scheduled to begin at 3:30 pm Dubai and Abu Dhabi time (5 pm India time).
However, after pressure from the sponsors and broadcasters, the new match timings were released and now the matches will begin from 2 PM in Dubai and Abu Dhabi (3:30 pm India time).
With the previous broadcast timings, the broadcast of the match along with the post-match show would have gone past midnight in India and broadcasters and sponsors felt that it would not have fetched the right value for money for them.
With the likelihood that India and Pakistan might meet each other thrice in the span of a mere 12 days; the Asia Cup 2018 has generated enough interest as it is. The revised format of the tournament has made at least two India-Pakistan games a near certainty while a possible showdown in the final on September 28. The match timing was one major glitch, which held the threat of commercially devaluing the major event, too has been cured now.
The Asia Cup this year will have 50-over-a-side games while the Super Four Round has been introduced in the Asian regional cricket championship for the first time ever. The top two teams from Group A and Group B will play each other in the Super Four Round to decide the two semi-finalists.
“India and Pakistan are scheduled to play at least twice in the Asian Cup. Then there is a strong likelihood of the two teams meeting in the final. This will generate an unprecedented interest in the market. Given the current form of the Pakistan team and the fact that they have won the Champions Trophy final during two arch-rivals’ last meeting, each of the India-Pakistan game in the Asia Cup will have an extremely high intensity. The fact that the two teams can potentially meet thrice in just 12 days gives a unique opportunity to the brands which are eyeing to make an impact, or planning to launch new products around this time,” says Arshad Nizam Shawl, director and co-founder of Alliance Advertising and Marketing, India’s leading media buyers in sports.
The six-team competition will feature India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, United Arab Emirates and Afghanistan. But nothing can match the intensity of an India-Pakistan game.
(With inputs from insidesport.co)