TSA looks to give badminton a major push in the country

MUMBAI: This is a move through which sports marketing firm Total Sports Asia (TSA) is looking to promote the sport of badminton in India and Asia.

TSA has signed a a multi-year exclusive representation agreement with the International Badminton Federation (IBF) for all media rights in Asia-Pacific and Middle East.

All major IBF events starting from 2006 including the annual World Championship and the prestigious Thomas/Uber Cup and Sudirman Cup are part of the deal. Speaking to this afternoon Total Sports Entertainment India (TSEI) MD Navneet Sharma said, "The qualifying rounds for the Thomas/Uber Cup takes place from 13-19 February 2006 in India. In the past India has produced great players like Prakash Padukone and Aparna Popat. However over the years the sport has lost some of its sheen perhaps because sports marketing firms concentrated on higher profile sports.

"However if you look at the scene badminton is played across India more than tennis because it is relatively inexpensive. There is a lot of awareness about the sport at the club and grassroots level. Our job will be to market and package these international tournaments that the IBF oganises."

Sharma goes on to add that TSA is looking to work with both the IBF and local badminton aurhorities in India for organising tournaments within the country. This could be at the club level and also at the state level. Here international players could be roped in. Sharma also says that the pan Asia deal will improve TSA's visibility in countries like Thailand, Indonesia and China where badminton has a large following.

"TSA will also play an active role in the re-positioning and re-branding of the IBF brand worldwide. We will be involved in getting sponsors on board the badminton events. Tha ratings that Badminton got in some Asian countries during the Olympic games last year was superb. Going forward we are looking to be associated with sports that have appeal acros Asia and not just in one country. That is where cricket is limited. It is huge in India and South Asia but if you look at the Far East it is not visible." TSA will look to market the IBF events at the upcoming sports television market Sportel Monaco which takes place later from 24-27 October 2005.

IBF executive deputy president Datuk Punch Gunalan commented, "This is a very important agreement for IBF as it allows us to create a solid financial structure for the Federation. We were looking for a partner who could provide us with a wide range of skills and services and TSA covers all these areas and has offices in all our key markets."


Meanwhile, as far as football is concerned, TSA has signed a deal to bring down the German club Bayern Munich II to India. The club will participate in the IFA Shield from 26-29 November 2005. TSA is also talking to several clubs regarding signing on India's biggest football star Bhaichung Bhutia. Sharma says that in all likelihood Bhutia will return to East Bengal after having spent a season in Malaysia.

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