The Kolkata Police Friendship Cup, jointly organised by Radio Mirchi and Kolkata Police, has entered the Limca Book of Records for being the largest football tournament in India in terms of participation and scale. This was announced at the close of the final match and the entry will feature in the 2008 edition of the book.
Prior to the partnership with Radio Mirchi, the Kolkata Police Friendship Cup used to be a low key affair. According to Sriram Kilambi, Station Director, Radio Mirchi Kolkata, “The association with Radio Mirchi has definitely added both scale and participation. In any city that we operate, we believe in completely integrating ourselves with that city. Football is a passion in Kolkata, so this was one of the best opportunities that came up –football at the true grassroot level. So, it is as broadbased and as mass as it can get.”
The Kolkata Police Friendship Cup 2007, which began on June 29, involved 7,770 participants from 519 teams, who played in 575 matches over 55 days. The three-tier tournament began at the thana level, followed by the divisional level and then the inter-divisional level.
Said Sriram, “This is a great on air property and has a huge brand connect. All activities that we do must have a rub-off on the brand. We did a lot of spots around this event. Our outdoor partner was Selvel, TV partner was Akaash Bangla, while print partner was The Times of India, Kolkata.” The creative communication for this event was handled by city-based agency, Inner Circle.
Throughout the tournament, the station aired songs composed exclusively for this event by Prithibi, a well-known city band, and organised several on-air and on-ground activities like a five-day road show across the city and a tram ride for the participants as well as various contests.
Zulfiquar Hasan, Joint Commisioner of Police, Kolkata, said, “We started this event to get closer to the youth of Kolkata. As the youth of this city is very passionate about football, we thought that this is the best vehicle to reach them so that their energy could be utilised by the police in a more constructive way.”