Total Sports Asia going mobile with WWE

MUMBAI: The recently launched integrated sports marketing company Total Sports Asia (TSA) is trying its level best to tap a growing revenue stream for entertainment products - The mobile.

The company has signed a deal with a major Indian content provider for mobile telephony rights for World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

TSA is the WWE Asian representative for television distribution, licensing, merchandising and event management. Speaking to Total Sports & Entertainment India MD, Indian Subcontinent and Middle East Navneet Sharma said, "An official announcement of the deal will be made in about a month's time. Our partner will negotiate deals with all the service providers whether it is hutch or Airtel. Customers, for a fee, will be able to download wallpaper, text news headlines ringtones and ringback tones. As of now we have not decided as to when we will also offer audio and video services. This will depend on the available bandwith. The deal will work in the form of a minimum gurantee along with revenue sharing."

Sharma added that the company was adopting a 360 degree approach to pushing and marketing the WWE. It has also signed a deal with Weekender for a line of apparel. "Since WWE is synonymous with finely sculpted physiques, health food brands see a big opportunity here. We are talking to several parties in this category. In this way we have been able to segementalise the different categories. In the watch category we have a deal with Impact Promotions. WWE has an enormous cachet in India when you examine the fact that it gets highest TRPs in sports after cricket."

One major deal that is already in place is with Ultra for VCDs. Sharma added that TSA is hoping to bring down the WWE to India early next year. As far as other sports are concerned it is also looking at organising running events like marathons in the country early next year. For this purpose it is talking to major FMCGs to come on board as partners and sponsors.

This sounds like a sound move. It may be recalled that the Mumbai Marathon (sponsored by Standard Chartered) in January drew an excellent response. The profile of the marathon in India has risen a great deal as the Mumbai marathon saw celebrities and people in the public limelight like Anil Ambani taking part and treating it as a serious part of their lives.

TSA is also into television distribution of different sports. It will appoint a head for TV distribution for the Indian subcontinent next month. Sharma added that one property that they are looking at pitching to the likes of Star, Sony and Zee in a big way is Latin American soccer. That is because it has a deal with Traffic Sports which virtually owns Latin American football.

"We would be looking to market World Cup qualifying matches in Latin America. We also see an opportunity to work with new channels that are coming up and which will be looking for content (read Zee Sports). We will also approach regional channels."

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