The Tata Group, which is into sports sponsorship in a big way, ranging from tennis to participants of Formula One racing, has trained its sights on hockey. Testimony to this is the ongoing India-Holland Test series for the Naval Tata Trophy.
Mr Romit Chaterji, Vice-President, Corporate Affairs, Tata group, told that the year 2004 was significant, being birth centenary year of both founder J.R.D. Tata and Naval Tata. The latter had made substantial contribution to sports, particularly hockey, during the three great Olympic medal wins of London (1948), Helsinki (1952) and Melbourne (1956).
"We have yet again turned our attention to hockey and have sponsored this important event ahead of the sport's busy season. The performance of the Indian hockey team lately, bringing it back into reckoning, was another motivating factor. We are testing the waters with this sponsorship and will explore a more sustained partnership as we go along," he said.
Explaining the group's philosophy of building its brand image, he said it had plans to be associated with major sports such as the Formula One racing. The first step was in signing up Narain Karthikeyan. That the sport has substantial viewership, would help the group reach out to a larger audience, he said.
Naval H. Tata was the President of the Indian Hockey Federation for 15 years from 1946 when the Indian team was at its peak. The recent focus on hockey would go a long way for both the group as also the Indian hockey team. In addition, the Tata group supports football, mountaineering, archery and athletics, which Mr Chaterji believes would help increase presence of the group in sports sponsorship.