Digital media to play a key role in building sports brands in India

MUMBAI: While the digital media is growing in India, sports organisations and companies need to use it to make sports and their brands bigger as youth Indians are hooked on to it, according to speakers at the Indian International Sports Summit (IISS).

If sports organisations do not leverage digital media, then sports will have skipped a generation and will not be big in the future. United Breweries deputy president Shekhar Ramamurthy stressed on the fact that sports brands need to think ahead when it comes to using digital media. “The challenge for brands including sporting ones is that they are traditional. They have to find a way though to connect sporting passions with kids through the digital medium to stay relevant. Using the digital medium means going beyond just providing information,” he said. 
Spotrfive Group director Hass Aminian and United Breweries deputy president Shekhar Ramamurthy. The topic was ‘Building brands and repackaging sports for new media formats’.

BBH India managing partner Partha Sinha noted that the digital medium allowed for sporting content to go beyond just the live feed. For instance Shane Warne’s ball of the century to Mike Gatting has got 10 million views online. There is an opportunity for brands to leverage this which is what Nike did with Joga Bonita. "The digital media offers brands more sports content to play with. Abroad BBH works with Lebron James and Sprite. One of the aims is to make optimum use of the digital medium. The advantage is that it offers the chance to create affinity groups," he said.

Zee Sports CEO Atul Pande said Zee Sports is not sure about the monestisation of the digital medium. The fact is that people would rather watch mates on their LCD TV sets than on their mobile phones given a choice. The broadcaster does not know when digitisation will start making money. 
Hungama CEO Neeraj Roy who delivered a keynote said that online video consumption is growing 60 fold and sports is a genre that would benefit. In this regard, a start has been made with the IPL deal with Google.

Sport applications online are growing in places like itunes. The mobile Internet will lead to multiple patterns of content consumption which will benefit sports. 3G could prove to be a tipping point. "Virtual goods buying online could prove to be a solid revenue stream for sports brands like the IPL," said Roy.

There are video capable devices in the market and more will be introduced over the next couple of years, he added.

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