Western Union signs contract with ESS to sponsor 2 PHL teams

MUMBAI: Western Union Financial Services Inc. today announced a three year contract with ESPN Star Sports to sponsor two Premier Hockey League (PHL) teams of Sher-e-Jalandhar and Chandigarh Dynamos.



The month long PHL kick started on 13 January at the Gachibowli stadium in Hyderabad and has two tiers having five teams each in the first year.

Tier I is called the Premier Division and Tier II being called the First Division. Sher-e-Jallandhar is currently leading in the Premier Division with eight points, while Chandigarh Dynamos are at the top of the First Division unbeaten throughout its five matches with 15 points.



Western Union regional marketing manager (South Asia) Rajiv Garodia said, "Firstly I would like to wish all participants in this league all the very best. It is extremely popular in Punjab and the large number of players from Punjab in the Indian national team bears testimony to this. Through this sponsorship of the Punjab hockey teams, "Western Union Sher-e-Jalandhar" and "Western Union Chandigarh Dynamos" we endeavor to create awareness and encourage the game among the Indians all over the country and lift the profile of the Punjabis in the game to even greater heights."



ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd director corporate communications and event management group Himanshu Verma said, "PHL has started on a very exciting note. The hockey being showcased is of the highest level. All foreign players have jelled extremely well with their respective teams and the high scoring exciting matches are bound to attract more crowds to PHL as we go along. Judging from the first year's response, we are confident that the PHL will become the most awaited event in India's sports calendar."

"We welcome Western Union as teams' sponsor on PHL. Both Shers and Dynamos have been performing very well. By coming on as a sponsor early on, Western Union will hugely benefit from the brand equity created by the two teams. And Western Union's joint marketing initiatives will certainly help in growing both, the popularity of the teams and the game of hockey," Verma added.

Sher-e-Jallandhar captain Gagan Ajit Singh said, "I am absolutely delighted on the sponsorship and thank Western Union on behalf of my team for coming forward in helping the game. We play with complete commitment and for the love of the game. If companies come forward and support the game in terms of sponsorship, it works as additional encouragement. Games attracting sponsorship also symbolizes growing popularity for the game and helps a lot in attracting fresh talent to the sport."

Western Union will also be launching a nation wide marketing campaign to promote the two teams. This will be a multimedia campaign comprising press, television and merchandising. There will be special focus on Punjab where Western Union is present across 2500 locations in over 240 towns.

"It evokes a feeling of belonging and it is indeed a great honor for Western Union to be associated with Punjabi hockey for the first time ever. We are happy and proud to be a connected with Punjab on one more level, through our national game," added Garodia.

PHL is a result of over three years of hard labour put in by the IHF, ESPN STAR Sports and Leisure Sports Management (LSM). ESPN STAR Sports has been entrusted with the key role of marketing, producing and broadcasting PHL for the next ten years.

PHL will offer total prize money of Rs 7.1 million. The winner of the Tier I will take home Rs 3 million, while the runners up will carry Rs 1 million. The winner of Tier II will get Rs 400,000 while the runner up will receive Rs 250,000.

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