Sponsors spurn Granada World Cup rights deal

The bidding for sponsorship of ITV’s coverage of the World Cup 2002 has been opened up to all advertisers, after Granada Enterprises failed to receive a single bid from any of the event sponsors.

Granada Enterprises had given the 15 event sponsors until March 1 to register any bids to sponsor ITV’s coverage of the World Cup, which takes place in Japan and Korea in June.

It was looking for bids of about &£4m for the sponsorship package, which will include live matches and additional exposure through a highlights programme, an interactive TV service and a website.

Event sponsors include Coca-Cola, Budweiser, Adidas, McDonald’s, MasterCard and Yahoo!.

Granada Enterprises sponsorship and licensing director Martin Lowde has already sent letters out to a number of top advertisers inviting them to bid to sponsor ITV’s coverage.

The majority of the matches during the 2002 World Cup are due to be broadcast live in the UK at 7.30am, 10am or 12.30pm when, during the week, most people will be at work.

Last October, ITV and the BBC agreed to pay German media company Kirch &£160m for the TV rights to the 2002 and 2006 World Cups.

After lengthy negotiations it was agreed last month that the BBC would show England’s first round games against Argentina on Friday June 7, and the match against Nigeria on Wednesday June 12.

ITV will screen England’s game against Sweden on Saturday June 2, hoping that the weekend slot will enable it to attract major viewing figures. ITV will also show the Republic of Ireland’s games against Cameroon and Germany, while the BBC will screen the match against Saudi Arabia.

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