Channel 4 is planning a &£3m marketing campaign around its England cricket coverage to revive the sport after the national team’s dismal performance in the Cricket World Cup.
A two-week poster campaign breaks on July 19, three days before the start of Channel 4’s first televised test in the England versus New Zealand series.
On-air promotions will run from June 21 to late August, when the series ends.
Channel 4-branded merchandise, including clothing, and grass roots initiatives, such as Channel 4 cricket kits for schools and youth coaching sessions, are also planned.
The creative work, to be produced in-house, aims to bring out the dramatic side of the game and the personalities of the players, in an effort to raise enthusiasm for the sport.
Channel 4 marketing manager for factual Bill Griffin says: “We want to raise the energy levels around the game.”
Press ads, which refer specifically to the match action, will run during the four test matches.
An Internet site and a magazine will also be launched to accompany the coverage, which will be sponsored by Volkswagen.
There are plans to sell special airtime packages, for example, to manufacturers of ice cream and hay fever remedies if the weather is sunny.
However, media buyers are concerned that the midweek afternoon cricket coverage will run into Channel 4’s programming for young adults after 6pm, such as Roseanne, Hollyoaks and TFI Friday.
MediaVest board TV director David Jowett comments: “Channel 4 has to do a balancing act to make money from cricket advertising revenue and not damage its 16- to 34-year-old audience.
“It also has to show racing on Saturday afternoons,” he adds.