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Nimbus ropes in Vodafone, Imperial Blue as WSH sponsors

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MUMBAI: Nimbus Sport, the marketing partner of Indian Hockey Federation promoted World Series Hockey, has roped in Vodafone and Imperial Blue as associate sponsors for the tournament which went underway Thursday.

Nimbus Sport COO Yannick Colaco said the organisers are talking to two more companies for sponsorship. The company had recently signed Japanese tyre manufacturer Bridgestone as the title sponsor of the tournament for the first season.

"We have done one year deals with our sponsors and partners. They will have the first right to renew the deal for four more years. Once people see the proof in the pudding, they will see value in associating with the event,” Colaco said, adding that the aim is build associations with premium brands.

The organisers are targeting a viewership of 1 TVR in the first year and are hopeful that Indian team’s recent win in Olympic Qualifiers will boost interest in the tournament. He draws a parallel to the Indian Premier League (IPL) which benefitted after India won the first edition of the Twenty20 World Cup.

"In terms of television viewership we are targeting a TVR of 1. India‘s performance in the Olympics qualifiers has created interest in the sport,” Colaco asserted.

Colaco adds that advertisers associate with the event as they believe in the project. At the same time they look for ROI. He adds that the big challenge for the agency has been the politics that has been going on while issues like logistics have been taken care of.

Stated Vodafone India Sr. VP Consumer Insights and Communications Anuradha Aggarwal, “We have been associated with marquee sporting properties like IPL and F1. There is a definite upswing in terms of awareness and sentiments for our national game (Hockey). WSH has tremendous long term potential and we would like to create interesting and engaging outreach programmes for our subscribers around this property.”

Offering a media buyer‘s take, Lodestar UN COO Anamika Mehta says that the league is a good idea. At the same time over the years there has been little effort to grow the sport at the grassroots level. Mehta feels that the older TG will tune in who have watched Indian hockey in its glory days. The challenge is that youth don‘t have an emotional connect with hockey unlike leagues like the EPL in soccer.

"A lot of work has to be done to bring the youth into the game. The parties in this initiative have to be in it for the long haul. At the same time the negative publicity around the event hasn‘t helped. While clients haven‘t been extremely enthusiastic, it is the first time that the event is being held,” she says.

Mehta adds that WSH cannot be just about the event taking place once a year, contending if that happens then the buzz will die down. It is important that franchises do marketing and promotional activities regularly across the year.

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