Granada Enterprises is talking to the Rugby World Cup 2003 event sponsors about sponsorship of ITV’s broadcast coverage of the tournament, taking place in October.
It is thought that the value of the sponsorship will be less than in previous years as the event, which is being held in Australia, will be broadcast live in the UK early in the morning.
Guinness paid &£4m to sponsor ITV’s coverage of the Rugby World Cup in 1999, and industry experts estimate that the UK broadcast sponsorship will only be worth about &£2m this time.
Last year Granada Enterprises had difficulties selling the broadcast sponsorship for the football World Cup in South Korea and Japan, which was also broadcast live in the morning. But TV buyers are already showing an interest in the Rugby World Cup broadcast sponsorship.
The timing of the event will also mean that alcohol brands will not be interested in buying a broadcast sponsorship in the UK. This rules out Heineken, an official sponsor of the Rugby World Cup 2003, as a potential TV coverage sponsor.
Granada Enterprises has to offer the broadcast sponsorship to all event sponsors before it can offer it to the open market. Other event sponsors include Coca-Cola and Visa.
If the sponsorship is offered on the open market, it is understood that a “cross-category” clause will operate, whereby event sponsors can veto a broadcast sponsor that operates in their sector.