ESS ropes in Bhaichung Bhutia for football promotion

MUMBAI: One of the sports where ESPN Star Sports (ESS) has a clear lead over the competition is football. The broadcaster has announced that it has signed on Indian football skipper Baichung Bhutia to promote the Uefa Euro 2004 Championship.

Uefa Euro 2004 will showcase 31 matches from 12 June to 4 July 2004.

ESS also announced that its coverage of the tournament will also feature Hindi commentary and analysis. Right now the production team is scouting for talent in this regard.

Bhutia will provide analysis during the telecast of the matches. He will also be travelling with the ESS team for on-ground events aimed at increasing consumer and trade awareness and interest in the tournament.

It may be recalled that a couple of years ago when Ten Sports aired the football World Cup it had Bhutia as a special guest in its studio.

On the advertising front ESS will launch a national level print campaign this month to create awareness of the championship across the country. The broadcaster will use outdoor media like hoardings, public transport vehicles and cinemas to reach out to its target audience.

ESS MD R C Venkateish added, "Most of the live action would happen at Indian prime time, which will also add to the increase in interest level for the popular championship. Hindi commentary will add greatly in increasing penetration of soccer, especially in Hindi markets like UP, Gujarat, Haryana, Uttaranchal etc. Viewers will have a choice to ask for English or Hindi commentary."

Besides the live telecast ESS will also produce daily half hour pre-match highlights complemented with four weekly one-hour highlights. This phenomenal football package will include specially taped programmes such as The Story of the Uefa European Football Championships, The Road to Uefa Euro 2004, The Golden Moments,.

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