When India and Pakistan played each other in the semifinals of the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday, hundreds of millions of fans tuned in to witness an epic 8 hour battle. Advertisers usually think Super Bowl, NFL, NBA Finals or something of the like to debut new commercials, however this match brought out the big guns. NIKE, Volkswagen, Sony, Pepsi, and others bet on this match as being a solid investment, and it worked out. The importance of this match was put well into words by Sudha Natrajan, deputy CEO of Lintas Media Group India:

“One billion hearts are synchronized at the same level. Cricket is a religion in India. One of the biggest emerging markets in the world has lost 75% of its productivity [today] — this is not just a cricket match, it is nearly a war.”

Jai Lala, a partner at Nike media agency Mindshare, said audiences reached 80 million homes in India — and were more than matched by those watching at work and in public spaces. “The premium charged can be justified, although not many advertisers have bought at this rate and it was considered very expensive by a lot of marketers. It’s a risky proposition as it is completely dependent on India’s performance.

People liken this match to the U.S. Super Bowl in terms of ad buys and though prices were not as high as 3 million dollars for a 30 second spot, however in terms of scale they were almost comparable. It was estimated that ads for this ran around 44k for 10 second spots. “Cricket is the biggest driver of revenue for India’s TV industry, accounting for 85% of all TV sports-related advertising on TV.” Not a bad investment for those companies who took the risk of betting on India performing well throughout the Cup. Check out Nike’s spot below:

via Ad Age