Ten Sports geared up for Champions Trophy hockey

MUMBAI: While cricket is certainly the number one sport in the country sports broadcasters are also looking at hockey in a big way to shore up viewership.

Ten Sports will air the hockey Champions Trophy from today, 4 December. The event will be held in Pakistan. As had been reported earlier by the tournament received a boost when India took Australia's place in the draw. The Aussies withdrew on account of security concens.

The six top-ranked teams are competing in a round-robin format. India had finished fourth in last year's Champions Trophy. India's best performance at this tournament has been the third place in the fourth edition at Amstelveen, Netherlands.

The daily eight hour coverage on the Abdul Rehman Bukhatir owned broadcaster will comprise a studio show hosted by Mike Haysman, and will feature two past superstars of Indian hockey - Merwyn Fernandes and Ashish Ballal as guests.

They will provide expert analysis, predictions, reviews of the game. For live match commentary, Ten has roped in two hockey experts - Rick Charlesworth and David Christison. The channel will also be running a series of player profiles during the tournament that will build up the hockey players as characters by using some facet of their playing skill eg. Adrian DSouza (Super Saver), Tushar Khandekar (The Match Winner) and Vikram Pillay (Playmaker).

Taj Television India MD Sharmista Rijhwani said, "We have always believed that hockey evoked great interest and held potential in the country among other high profile sports like cricket and soccer. Thats the reason Ten Sports has always promoted the game starting with the telecast of the Champions Trophy in September02, and has continued its commitment ever since. The game has been on the rise and the viewership ratings of hockey events on Ten Sports have mirrored the ever-rising popularity of hockey.

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