Starcom MediaVest Group’s sports specialist practice, Relay Worldwide, has been appointed the marketing and amplification consultant for the annual Kila Raipur Games, also known as Rural Olympics. In the past, the event has seen sponsors like Western Union, Castrol, Coca Cola, Pepsi and Hero Honda so far, and this year, Western Union has come as a sponsor again.
“The sport may not appear to be in the league of other big properties like cricket that the industry is keenly interested in, but it has the potential to be there,” said Ravi Kiran, MD, Starcom, South Asia. “It is called the Rural Olympics and is in its 73rd year. People in the North, especially in Punjab, look forward to the event and they come in large numbers there. This is quite an affair and consequently presents a great vehicle for various brands.”
Ravi Kiran asserted that Starcom’s objective was to develop the property further by forging long-term relations with other sponsors. Elaborating further on the role of an amplification partner, he said, “Amplifying necessarily means to take a property that exists in its own right and use media vehicles to take it to the next level of popularity, and that is what we will do for Kila Raipur Games.”
Speaking on the development, Mahesh Ranka, General Manager, India, Relay Worldwide, said, “For one of our key clients, Western Union, Punjab is a strategic market. That’s how we came in contact with the Kila Raipur Committee. We found out that while the event per se enjoys high popularity in Punjab, and the committee manages the event well, its full potential has been under-leveraged in the past, mainly due to ad hoc and inconsistent support by sponsors and short-term thinking by the marketing agents, a concern shared by the committee with us. We hope to amplify the event through media partnerships, better on ground activation and excitement, and by encouraging sponsors to integrate the event into their marketing programme. It’s a brilliant and unexplored opportunity to drive customer connections.”
Sukhvir Singh Grewal, Head, Marketing Committee, Kila Raipur Games Committee added, “The Grewal family and the organising committee have been proud of the event ever since its inception. We believe the annual event captures the true spirit of Punjab in its full glory and presents an excellent opportunity for marketers to leverage their brands. However, until we met the Relay executives, we had not realised the full potential of our event. They have been forthcoming with ideas and initiatives, and provided a long-term view, which would take our efforts to a different level. Now, we hope to upgrade the Games and make it more popular inside Punjab as well as outside.”
The Kila Raipur Games, popularly known as the Rural Olympics, is arguably the single largest sporting extravaganza in Punjab. Now in its 73rd year, the event is held over a four-day period every year at Grewal Sports Stadium at Kila Raipur near Ludhiana.
Overseen by the Kila Raipur Committee, the games attract about nearly 4,000 sportspersons and over a million spectators from all over Punjab. Recognised by the Sports Authority of India, the Tourism Department, and the Punjab Government, the event includes different kinds of sports and entertainment modules.