AXN chalks awareness campaign around 'The Contender'

MUMBAI: One of AXN's major programming initiatives for the year is The Contender. The boxing based reality show kicks off on 10 March with a double episode at 9 pm. The next episode airs at the same time on 11 March. Thereafter it will air every Monday live at 8 am with a primetime repeat at 10 pm.

The show from US broadcaster NBC's stable deals with 16 boxers competing for the chance to win a million dollars and go professional. To create awareness around the same the channel will conduct an integrated marketing campaign.



Speaking to on this Sony assistant VP marketing Rohit Bhandari who looks after the channel in India says, "We will be using different mediums for The Contender. You will see hoardings coming up in the Metros. We will be using the backs of buses. As far as radio is concerned we have tied up with Red and Go 92.5 FM. There will be promotional spots as well as contests."



Online, the broadcaster has tied up with MSN and Yahoo. Besides contests through which AXN will be handing out merchandise, visitors can also get further information on the show. Bhandari adds "Right now we are not looking at tying up with retail outlets. We are at the awareness building stage. However once the show picks up momentum we could look at tying up with youth hangouts. We are also examining the possibility of holding a contest whereby one winner goes to Las Vegas to view the final bout."



Mountain Dew, LG and Skoda are sponsoring the show. Bhandari expressed optimism on the show doing well. "Sylvester Stallone and Mark Burnett who is the show's creator are well known names. Historically boxing fights are more popular when a famous name is involved in some capacity. The Contender has also roped in boxing great Sugar Ray Leonard."

Bhandari however does not feel that a local production for a sports based reality show will work in India. "It is too early for that. Right now awareness about sport outside cricket is limited. There is some awareness for hockey. Tennis is growing to a certain degree due to Sania Mirza. I however feel that the growth of Formula One's popularity will be restricted because the Indian viewer cannot experience it first hand. When you see cars live zooming at the venue that is when you get a real feel for the sport."

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