Question: What are the two things Indians are crazy about? Cricket and Bollywood, of course. What if the two are offered on a single platform? Percept D’Mark, one of India’s leading entertainment and sports marketing companies, is out to do precisely that for a good cause. But will it really loosen purse strings?
Percept D’Mark has announced a new initiative – the Film Cricket Board (FCB) – in association with leading luminaries from the film and cricket world. The main aim of FCB will be to unite the Indian film industry on a common platform that will serve various deserving need-based charities on a continuous basis using ‘cricket’ as the medium.
Cricketainment – the convergence of cricket and entertainment for Indian and global audiences – will see cine stars playing with various teams across the world. For the audience it means that they will not only be able to see their favourite celebrities play serious cricket, but also be entertained with a lot of on ground fun and excitement.
Shailendra Singh, Managing Director, Percept D’Mark, said, “Innovation is the key to the growth of any product, even a sport like cricket, which has immense mass appeal as well as the biggest following among the NRI diaspora across the world. FCB will be a great platform to showcase a unique, exclusive and spectacular display of cricketing action from our very own entertainers, a combination of sport and entertainment.”
Bollywood macho man Suniel Shetty, who is captain of the FCB team, said, “The film industry has always looked towards cricketing heroes, and are now willing to put in their best talent to converge cricket and entertainment at the cricket ground through FCB.”
Mayank Khandwala has been appointed the FCB team manager, while the FCB team coach will be Praveen Amre.
Kapil Dev, Chairman of Hero Indian Sports Academy and brand ambassador of FCB, said, “It is good to see more people taking the cause of the game forward through such initiatives. I have personally experienced playing with these stars at various charity events, and am witness to their talent in this field, too.”
For their first cricketing season – September 2005 to August 2006 – matches have already been confirmed and scheduled globally in Australia, Singapore and the UK. In India, the FCB team will play two matches in Mumbai, and one each in Delhi and Kolkata. South Africa, Dubai and Pakistan are among those that have also shown interest in hosting some matches.
The FCB XI will compete against various other celebrity teams and clubs from India and other parts of the world at some of the greatest venues of the cricket world. However, it is not an easy go for the participating players, there is an eligibility criteria for the players who are chosen to play against the opposing teams.
The charities that have been identified are HISA and ONE, both for the benefit of sports as well as individual sporting scholarships for underprivileged children.
Partners already on board supporting the FCB are Adidas, who will provide clothing to the FCB team, Oakley’s will provide eyewear, while Ten Sports will be the channel partner, Kingfisher Airlines the airline partner, and Times Group the media partner.