Wizcraft International has acquired the Delhi franchise of the World Series Hockey (WSH). The Delhi Wizards is the fourth team with a franchisee apart from the Karnataka Lions, Chennai Cheetahs, and Pune Strykers. The team will be led by ace striker Lucas Vila as captain with one of the world’s best coaches – Roelant Oltmans. There will be eight teams participating in the series.
Wizcraft has been instrumental in shaping the event management and brand activation industry in India. On the foray into the world of sports by a company that is primarily focused on events and entertainment, Sabbas Joseph, Director, Wizcraft International, said, “Wizcraft has always been a part of the sporting world having handled events in the past for the ICC World Cup 2011, the IPL, and the CWG. We see tremendous opportunity in sports in terms of community building and brand activation. This is an important step that will further expand the canvas for Wizcraft and help build a strong following for our national game. We believe that the WSH will change the face of Indian Hockey and we want to be a part of it. We’ve got the opportunity to develop talent and take hockey to the people. We believe that this would be a perfect platform to blend our existing properties - the Kingdom of Dreams in Gurgaon and our upcoming media institute in Delhi. It’s a perfect match.” The WSH will be held from December 17, 2011 to January 22, 2012 and will involve 200 leading players, Indian and international, who will showcase their talent in 61 matches. It will be a multi-city franchise-based League with players being allocated to the teams based on the internationally accepted and practiced ‘draft’ system.
Yannick Colaco, COO, Nimbus Sport, said, “We are delighted to welcome one of India’s biggest entertainment companies – Wizcraft International to the WSH family. We see tremendous opportunity in marrying sports and entertainment and with the extensive global experience that Wizcraft possesses; they make a fantastic partner for WSH.” As for other franchisees coming on board, he added, “We have completed the process of franchise allocation for the inaugural edition and have already announced the franchise owners and teams for the Chennai Cheetahs, Karnataka Lions, and Pune Strykers. As committed to our franchisee partners, we will continue with making the announcements of the ownership of the remaining 4 teams one after the other over the course of the next few days.”
Ad campaigns for the Series have already taken off. Yannick elaborated on the campaign spread. “Our marketing campaign has been divided into unique phases. We’ve launched the announcement phase in the first week of October along with TV and print commercials. The awareness phase was launched earlier this month and featured the use of fresh TV commercials and print ads. These phases of the campaign were across multiple platforms including TV channels (sport and news), print and digital.” Euro RSCG Mumbai has designed the creatives, Maxus is the media agency, and Red Digital will handle the social media duties.
Wizcraft will soon be coming out with event-specific promotions. Sabbas shared some details. “We would reach out to people in various different ways to build awareness and a loyal fan base for Delhi Wizards. Having mentioned that, we have made our official announcement only a day ago and have a dedicated team that is working round the clock to put in place all aspects in the short time that we have in hand before the launch.”
To promote their team in this series, Wizcraft will adopt a communication mix having a blend of TV, Print, OOH, and other BTL activations. Entertainment will bring zing and excitement to the mix. “We are very happy to have been awarded the Delhi franchisee for WSH. Delhi has a strong hockey culture to begin with and we are certain that our team ‘Delhi Wizards’ will enjoy maximum crowd support. We will utilise the expertise that we have gained in the last two decades in delivering high quality experiences and a strong line-up of on-ground activation to build a strong and committed fan following for the team.”
As for designing the communications and the spends involved, Sabbas stated, “We have a strong in-house team with the capabilities to deliver the right kind of creative communication. However, if required, we are open to partnering with an external agency as well. Being in the marketing communication industry, we realize that there is a cost of acquisition when it comes to intellectual properties such as this. In addition, there is also a cost for leveraging that acquisition to ensure maximum eyeballs and consumer touch-points for your brand. We will do whatever it takes to promote the Delhi Wizards.”
Elaborating on what the association with the World Series would do for Wizcraft as a brand, Sabbas commented, “Our passion is for Hockey – the game, and what Wizcraft with its expertise can do to ignite interest and passion for the sport. In the branded entertainment and marketing industry, Wizcraft has been a pioneer with all the intellectual properties that we’ve launched in the film, music. and television genres. With our dedication, expertise and experience, we’ve set new benchmarks in everything that we’ve done. IIFA is a testimony to this. With India’s sporting landscape growing at such a rapid pace, the time was right for us to foray into the world of sports. It’s a great way for us to be a part of something that’s historic, give back to our national game and also build on our brand equity of three decades.”
A joint initiative between the Indian Hockey Federation (“IHF”) and Nimbus Sport, WSH was conceived with the objective of reinvigoration the sport of hockey in Indian and making hockey the “sport of choice” for young Indians. For the first time a significant guaranteed investment into infrastructure and players will give the game a big boost. With a total prize purse of approximately US $2 million, the WSH™ will be an annual event with a multi city franchise-based model. The inaugural tournament will be played with eight teams across India. . The action packed league of 61 matches featuring 200 players from India and across the world will be televised live across 30 countries on multiple media platforms.