England’s rugby players, officials and fans are not the only ones licking their wounds after their shock exit from the World Cup.
Shares in ITV, which has live broadcast rights, will be closely watched when the markets open on Monday, as will those of pub groups and car manufacturers who were hoping to cash in over the long six-week tournament.
Defeat to Australia on Saturday means England become the first host nation to exit at this stage and advertisers are likely to be unimpressed. One estimate suggests ITV could lose up to £1 million for each of the remaining matches.
Indeed, the broadcaster and the pubs are not the only ones counting the cost of England’s elimination. Bean counters across the country will be recalculating its impact on everything from merchandise sales to GDP.
The broadcaster’s fall-back is the presence of Scotland and Wales, although they may meet in the Quarter-Final, meaning another home nation will be eliminated.
ITV had pinned its hopes on huge anticipation ahead of the tournament which promised a big audience over the autumn months. This was especially important after live coverage of European Champions League football switched to BT Sports.
It has put a gloss on England’s defeat by emphasising the quality of other teams left in the tournament.
Ernst & Young had estimated that the World Cup could add up to £1 billion to GDP and that ITV would be among the biggest beneficiaries.
On the back of such expectations Alex DeGroote at Peel Hunt urged clients to buy ITV shares, stating in a note just before the first ball was kicked that it was “important for third and fourth quarter advert performance across the ITV network”.
Live sport is increasingly able to attract spot rates, particularly when the top games are on at domestic peak time. Against recent trends, the Rugby World Cup is on free to air terrestrial TV and the World Cup was seen as crucial in helping ITV arrest a decline in its share of viewing.
Scottish fans will naturally take some pleasure from England’s demise, though STV will have mixed feelings. Scotland’s continuation in the tournament (at least for another week) ensures interest north of the border, but it will take a share of the blows delivered to ITV.