ESPN STAR Sports, Asia’s leading sports’ broadcaster, yesterday announced a special Hindi-programming package for the LIVE and Exclusive telecast of the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005. Interestingly, the channel is also exploring at commentaries in local languages to tap the local viewers.
After the success of Hindi commentary during UEFA EURO 2004, the channel has extended mere Hindi commentary into a full Hindi flavour programming. The package will include LIVE Hindi commentary, special preview and review show on all matches. English programming for Confederation Cup will continue as usual.
Sricharan Iyengar, Vice-President, Sales & Marketing, ESPN Software India, said, “We soft launched Hindi with the telecast of the UEFA EURO 2004 championship last year. Hindi commentary helped us in further increasing penetration in traditional soccer markets. Hindi telecast also enabled us to open up several non-traditional markets for soccer, like UP, Gujarat, Punjab and so on, as testified by the viewership numbers of UEFA EURO 2004.”
Iyengar said that localisation adds a lot of value to the telecasts especially for viewers who are not familiar with English.
The channel is also open to experimenting with other languages. “As a company we are ready to explore further localisation such as multi-lingual commentary, including Bengali, for our telecast of the FIFA World Cup 2006. We will review our programming initiatives with the Confederations Cup very meticulously. The review will form the basis of our programming initiatives for the FIFA World Cup 2006.” Iyengar, added.
Himanshu Verma, Director, Corporate Communications and Event Management Group, ESPN Software India, said, “Our marketing and localisation efforts have borne fruit. In EPL, we have been able to improve the acceptance of EPL teams. The number of markets, which have started recording 1+ rating for EPL, has increased. Key markets such as Mumbai, Kolkata have shown steady growth in viewership.”
Sharing his views on the FIFA Confederation Cup 2005, Subhash Bhowmick, former International and chief coach of East Bengal, said, “The quality of soccer on display during the Confederation Cup will be of the best possible standard because all the six teams, Brazil and host nation Germany, have qualified after a tournament success within their FIFA confederations. I am anxiously looking forward to my new role as an analyst on ESPN STAR Sports.”
ESPN STAR Sports has signed Bhowmick, eminent sports journalist Novy Kapadia and experienced commentator on football, Ghaus Mohammed, for LIVE commentary and in-depth analysis during the preview and review shows on the FIFA Confederations Cup 2005. The channel’s own presenter and host for the ‘Football Locker Room’ Sudhi Sachdev will anchor the preview and review shows. Hindi commentary during the LIVE telecast will be in addition to the regular English commentary.
The channel has launched a focused marketing campaign on June 1, 2005 to promote the FIFA Confederations Cup. Fifteen trams have donned the colours of Confederations Cup, across Kolkata. Around 20 hoardings have been taken across the major towns of West Bengal like Siliguri, Burdwan, Baharampur, Krishnanagar and Asansol to spread the tournament fever. In addition the publicity campaign will be supported with print advertising, radio spots and consumer contests.