V. Thulasidas, Chairman and MD, Air India, announced that Air India Express, its low-cost international carrier, would be the title sponsor of the 60th edition of the Santosh Trophy. The event will be called Air India Express Santosh Trophy. Zee Sports will telecast the tournament live and Nimbus Sports is the marketing partner for this mega soccer event.
The cluster-leg will be held from November 4-10 in Thiruvananthapuram and Calicut, while the final round with the quarterfinal league, semi-finals and final would be held in Kochi from November 11-20. Thirty-two states and government institutions will take part in this year’s tournament.
Darius Chibber, Deputy Commercial Director, Air India, said, “After introduction of Air India Express flights from Kerala on April 29, 2005, we were looking for a major event to connect with the masses. As football is the most popular sport in Kerala, there could no better event than the Santosh Trophy for Air India Express to be the title sponsor. Also, the ‘Air India Express Santosh Trophy’ is being held in Thiruvananthapuram, Kozhikode and Kochi from where Air India Express also flies.” He added that the event coincides with Air India Express introducing four weekly flights from Kozhikode to Sharjah and Mumbai
Himanshu Mody, Business Head, Zee Sports, said, “We are proud to be associated with Air India Express. Zee Sports has put in lot of hard work to present the Santosh Trophy in a viewer friendly format at viewer friendly times with in-depth analysis. We are also undertaking a multi-media marketing campaign to promote the event. We are sure that all this, along with Zee Sports’ distribution strength, will bring lot of value to the sponsors.”
Satish Menon, President, Nimbus Sports, said, “With the entry of Air India Express as the title sponsor, we are sure to repeat the success achieved in Federation Cup. The value for sponsor in Indian football with a new avataar has become obvious with the strong response that we have received from corporate houses who want to be associated with sports.”
Zee Sports will telecast live the 16 matches from the quarterfinals onwards. The telecast package will include preview and review shows, half-time match analysis and various studio programming. The coverage will involve more cameras, more replays, new commentators and a new graphic look. Said Mody, “Our world-class production crew flown in from around the world with some the finest equipment will ensure that the Air India Express Santosh Trophy telecast is among the best in the world.”
With the aim of creating a distinctive identity for every major domestic tournament, a new logo of Air India Express Santosh Trophy was also unveiled. As part of Zee Sports’ strategy to provide entertainment along with sports, several innovations are being undertaken like music and dance performances by renowned bands during the half-time and in between two matches.
John Helm and Russell Osman will be commentator and co-commentator respectively for this event. Helm and Osman were the commentators for the Alchemist 27th Federation Cup held in Goa from October 19-30. Helm, one of Europe’s top football commentators for the last 25 years, has covered several World Cups and European Championships. Osman, a former England International player, has played over 800 games for Ipswich Town, Leicester City, Southampton and Bristol City.
To promote the tournament, a special section on Indian football will be created on www.zeesports.co.in. This will provide soccer fans with the latest team news, match scores, statistics and player profiles, as well as exclusive player interviews and photo galleries. There will be interactive sections that will include chat rooms, video clips of matches, online games, wallpapers and ring tones.