I’m Welsh But I’ve Never Cheered Harder

England are through! And this means means the World Cup 2014 really is going to be the very best ever – particularly for a sponsor – says Controller of Sponsorship Sales, Bhavit Chandrani.

I’ve always supported England in football but my passion is muted by the fact that I’m Welsh (actually it’s way more complicated than that, but for ease let’s stick with this).

Last night, I cheered as hard as the most stout of English Yeomen. I sang as powerfully as the bare-chested-tattoo-bearing England fan. Why? Well, it’s because it matters to me professionally!

The FIFA World Cup in 2014 will be an incredible tournament whether England qualified or not. It’s in Brazil – the land of free-flowing football, sunshine, passionate fans and stunning stadiums. There’s plenty of interest in other teams – 12 of the Belgian squad play in the Premier League; there are the reigning champions Spain; the youth of the Germans (knocked us out last time round).

In fact, the game between Serbia and Ghana in the last World Cup – two teams not known for their UK support – reached an audience of almost 9m viewers.  As a nation, we’d have embraced it, adopted a team, and watched in our millions.

BUT nothing draws a bigger audience than England in a World Cup (literally nothing). Nothing captures the nervous mood of our nation more than our hopes being played out on an international scale. There’s nothing like a 20m audience watching live – the anticipation in the build up, the endless pub and social media chatter, the pouring over stats, the sense of watching together like you really are part of something big.

So, I cheered.  In particular, I thought of what this would mean for a sponsor.  Sponsoring ITV’s coverage of the FIFA World Cup is an incredible opportunity.  It’s a commercial opportunity that exists only every 4 years. This time round, it’s bigger, and potentially better than ever before. Uniquely for a tournament so far away, almost all of the games are in peak.  ITV has first pick which means we’re likely to have two England group games and assuming England get through, probably their first knock out game as well.

That means that bucket loads of people will be watching (42m watched last time) and will do so live and with others. The World Cup also pulls in a high proportion of men. So it’s a perfect sponsorship vehicle to reach lots of people, but also to target hard-to-reach audiences.

Sponsorship gets you closer to the content. It’s a chance to elevate your brand and own the World Cup 2014 from within your category. You don’t just get to join the conversation - you get to help set the conversation.

In total, ITV has 33 live games, of which we’ll be showing 32 exclusively. The sponsorship covers the broadcast and has an extensive supporting multiplatform package that can be tailored for our partner (or partners).  We’re looking for one sponsor but we’d also consider two complimentary sponsors.

Roy Hodgson’s England has qualified, and it is phenomenally exciting. The biggest sporting event in the World, in Brazil, on ITV. Why wouldn’t you want your brand to be at the heart of the action?

I think I’ll keep cheering for England.