MUMBAI: Looks as if the competition is trying to emulate MAX's successful "cricketainment" formula. If MAX had one animated tiger character doing its thing, ESPN Star Sports is going a step further. In fact four steps further.
As the action begins at the Bangabandhu National Stadium in Dhaka on 11 April, when the first match of the TVS Cup 2003 will be played, television viewers across the country will get to meet four new faces on ESS.
ESS will be unveiling these characters during the tournament featuring India, South Africa and Bangladesh.
ESS has created Anda Bhai, Gilli Swamy, Yogi and Runjeet Singh - four animated characters that will pop up on the screen in tune with the on-field action, as the the live action unfolds on Star Sports, a company release says.
Ray Hume, director, cricket production for ESS was quoted as saying: "These four animated characters embody the spirit of the quintessential cricket fan passionate with a capital 'P', as they laugh and cry with the viewers through each match!"
Anda Bhai sneaks out sheepishly when a batsman goes out for a duck; Gilli Swamy gleefully uproots the stumps whenever a batsman is clean bowled; sunshade-sporting Yogi rules as the 'other' third umpire; and Runjeet Singh, the most enthusiastic of the lot does two special jigs for ace batsmen "to celebrate their centuries and half-centuries," explains Hume.
It looks as if the characters have been created to strike a chord with viewers with different psychographic and demographic profiles. Perfetti India have signed on as sponsors for these characters with ESS for their brands Chlormint, Center Shock and Alpenliebe Lollipop.
The release mentions the following attributes of the animated characters:
Anda Bhai is a cricket-loving duck with a problem - he just can't score! Anda Bhai hails from Hyderabad, and loves biryani (rice preparation) besides cricket. On the field he has an unenviable record. He has consistently never ever scored.
Gilli Swamy, another cricket fan with a special love - he just loves wickets! A resident of Kochi, he enjoys appams and stew.
Yogi - the 'other' third umpire from Patna! This astrologer, who hides behind sun glasses, is ever ready to come to the umpire's aid when tricky decisions have to be announced. When not watching cricket this sweet tooth can be found gorging on jalebis and rabri at the local markets.
Runjeet Singh is a cricket fan with a special talent - he just loves runs and breaks into bhangra whenever the batsman scores a 50 or a 100. A resident of Jallandhar, Punjab, he loves colourful clothes (he has a special costume for cricket matches) enjoys his tandoori chicken besides big scores on the board. He has worked out two separate routines to celebrate the real big ones - 50s and 100s, and he does them both in great style.