Sports marketing firm Total Sports Asia launched in India

MUMBAI: This is an initiative that seeks to give sports brands in India greater visibility and profile through sustained marketing and promotional efforts.

Integrated sports marketing company Total Sports Asia (TSA) has launched operations in India. Based in Mumbai, the company will look to grow the business in Pakistan, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh as well.



R to L: Navneet Sharma (MD Indian Subcontinent and Middle East) and Marcus Leur (Group CEO)

The company has targetted a turnover of $5-10 million from India in three years. Speaking on the launch of Total Sports Entertainment India (TSEI), TSA group CEO Marcus Luer said, "Our endeavour is to create customised sports marketing solutions which will deliver results and impact for our clients. We adopt a 360 degree approach to sport. We sell television rights, manage and organise events, leverage sponsorship opportunities for major corporates by using sport as a platform. We also organise sports events."

Arguably TSA's biggest property in its bag with respect to India is World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE). It is the WWE's Asian representative in terms of television rights and merchandise sale. It also organises events on behalf of the WWE. It may be recalled that a couple of years ago the WWE had come down to India. TSA is looking at the WWE coming down again sometime soon. It also did a deal with Ultra for WWE home videos and merchandise deals like card packs.



Luer added that in addition to organising events in India, TSEI would also give Indian companies a chance to go abroad to market their wares. "For instance LG Electronics wanted to have major visibility in South America. Therefore they decided to get involved with Copa America through sponsorship. We negotiated the deal on their behalf."

"We had also organised MasterCard's sponsorship of the 16th Commonwealth Games. This is what we can offer Indian companies who want to increase their brand visibility overseas. While most of them are extremely familiar with cricket, the bat and ball game may not be the best sport abroad for brand visibility. Therefore we can help them through Premiere League football, Formula One, tennis. In Europe all these sports are big," emphasised Luer.



TSA also helps broadcasters attract sponsors. For instance ESPN Star Sports (ESS) had appointed TSA as the sponsorship agent for the X Games and other sporting events in Malaysia.

Coming back to India, Luer pointed out that one of the factors that makes TSEI different from the likes of Showdiff, is the fact that it works with sporting federations and government bodies across Asia to increase the visibility of sports. He pointed out that apart from cricket other sports need a push too.

"This is something we can help them with by getting them sponsorship with major corporates and organising ground level events. There is plenty of scope for us here. If there is clutter it is only in cricket," said Luer.

One area that TSA recently got into is representing athletes. It is not necessary that they are big names. TSEI is looking at sponsoring two Indian sports persons. It could be from any sport but Luer added that they should be 14-15 years old. "They will be groomed for the 2008 Olympics in China. We will raise the funds on their behalf. While I am not saying that the interest among people in sport will miraculously rise, this endeavour will at least create some awareness."

TSEI is also active in the mobile content segment. It is looking to do mobile tie ups in India regarding WWE. Here, fans will be able to download ringtones, images and other content. In Japan such a deal is already in place through an alliance with I-Mode.

As far as Internet activities are concerned TSA is involved with managing sports sites as well as designing them. It represents which is a bookmaker. TSA also serves as a bookmaking partner to EPL clubs Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal. TSA also works out sponsorship deals for these clubs.

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