After cricket, it’s wrestling that has managed to get grab maximum eyeballs in India. Riding on the popularity of this sport, ESPN-STAR Sports (ESS) has introduced TNA Wrestling in Hindi.
The first episode of TNA Wrestling in Hindi will be aired on August 2 at 4:00 pm on STAR Sports. The programme will have dual language feed, where the cable operators will have the option of selecting English or Hindi, depending upon consumers’ choice.
According to R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt Ltd, ESS’ acquisition of TNA Wrestling had placed them uniquely as a sports channel with the most wholesome programming.
“This initiative is in line with ESS’ strategy to constantly innovate and localise content to suit the taste of Indian audiences. In every discipline – be it soccer, cricket, hockey, motor sports – we are clear leaders,” he claimed.
ESS will launch a multi-media marketing campaign starting July 30 to push localised TNA. Additionally, Sonjoy Dutt, the Indian-American wrestler, along with two other leading wrestlers of TNA Wrestling will visit India for a promotional tour in September.
“Wresting was the only genre within sports, which was missing, and we have filled that gap completely after acquiring TNA Wrestling. Our research has pointed out that there is a demand for wrestling in Hindi and localisation will help in increasing the understanding of the sport in addition to opening new markets for it. We will invest in marketing of TNA to accelerate the process,” said Venkateish on the initiative.
The sports network has roped in two new anchors – Joe Baath and Manish Batavia, who will commentate in Hindi for TNA. While Baath has prior experience of anchoring and presenting television shows involving high level of viewer interactivity, Batavia is an ESS find from Harsha Ki Khoj. Besides commentating during the wrestling bouts in Hindi, both anchors will analyse matches of the day in special pre- and post-shows.
TNA Wrestling in English has, since its launch in May 2005, received positive response from viewers even in new markets. Earlier this year, the company had entered into a three-year deal with TNA Entertainment, LLC to broadcast all TNA Wrestling programmes on its channels in India and the rest of Asia, showcasing 60 hours of wrestling every month.