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India more than catching up with the world in sports marketing

India more than catching up with the world in sports marketing

Author | Shikha Saroj | Tuesday, Dec 13,2005 8:34 AM

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India more than catching up with the world in sports marketing

Nimbus Sports India is a service sports marketing and production company that has prominent multi-year contracts such as the management of commercial rights of ICC cricket events (mandated by GCC), the A1 Grand Prix World Cup of Motor Sport (mandated by Team India), the Afro Asia Cup cricket (mandated by ACC), Kingfisher Challenger Series ‘05, Mumbai Cricket Festival 2005- 06, and a five-year television production and sponsorship marketing deal of Indian football with Zee Sports and several other regional sports properties.

Satish Menon, President, Nimbus Sport, has played a significant role in Nimbus being recognised as one of the most popular sports marketing companies. He believes that though Indian markets witnessed a boom in sports marketing much later than international markets, we have more than caught up.

Nimbus (in the business of sports marketing since 1989) has handled sports events that are not limited to cricket but also cover motor sports and football. It recently marketed the Santosh Trophy (Air India Express was the title sponsor of the event).

Even though cricket is extremely popular in India, Menon wishes to bring football into the limelight. He said, “Football is the easiest game to play, but it has not been promoted effectively. The game needs to be popularised through quality production, creating football heroes, broadcasting it in large numbers and several other promotional ideas that will attract the general publics’ attention. The overall objective is to create a world-class team that can compete at international levels, and this can only be done by making the game more popular and creating interest in youngsters to take to the game and corporate houses coming all out and supporting the cause of football. We have seen many corporate houses willing to back the game.”

He further said, “Most corporate houses would buy into sponsorships as the benefits that accrue from them are unmatchable. Only the brand fit has to be right. So it depends on what the sporting property is. Air India Express was a great fit for Santosh Trophy, for the game was being played out of Kerala. An airline that was ostensibly meant to cater to the Middle-East-based Keralites.”

Commenting on the growing popularity of sports marketing in India, Menon said, “Sports marketing has more than matured and now the clients value sports properties and its power to promote their brands. Sport marketing is a profitable business and the corporate take this business quite seriously. Or they won’t commit to sponsorships the way they do.”

Sports, felt Menon, would assume the role of a major marketing vehicle considering the number of world-class players that sports had started throwing up. “Several sporting properties will find India a viable market to stage events and unlock its value. There will be many more marketers willing to back it and many more followers of the game. Also the number of broadcasters will increase and, therefore, the spread of the game,” he added.

Commenting about Nimbus, Menon said, “We understand viewer and sponsor needs better, and then there is our international experience. Our objective is to ensure that the game moves to the next level, so the viewer, the sponsor and the board/federation gets much more value.”

Nimbus has an impressive list of sports events that it will market. Said Menon, “We have the Champions Trophy in 2006 followed by ICC Cricket World Cup in 2007. We have the Afro-Asia Cricket Cup and international cricket staged by the Pakistan Cricket Board for the next three years. We have already entered the World Cup of motor sports. We are amongst the first to have marketed national football and raised the bar both insofar as production values and sponsorships are concerned. Many more deals are in the final stages.”

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