ESPN Star Sports (ESS) will telecast its new property, the Premier Hockey League (PHL), live and exclusive for 10 years starting January 13, 2005. The Indian Hockey Federation (IHF) has evolved this new format domestic league to popularize the game in India, with Rs 71 lakh as prize money. ESS will be responsible for marketing, producing and broadcasting the league.
The channel has finalized a very comprehensive marketing plan to popularize this new property. It will work at two levels. The first part would promote the league nationally to build anticipation before the start of the tournament. The second level will aim at building team loyalty with local level initiatives.
R C Venkateish, Managing Director, ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd, said, “ESPN Star Sports is committed to growing PHL as a sports property. We believe that PHL will become one of the most important events in India's sports calendar. We have made all efforts to ensure that PHL is showcased in an exciting manner for the viewers.”
“Through innovative promotions campaign we will accelerate the process of consumers adapting teams as their favourites. ESPN Star Sports will be revealing team logos and team colours in an exciting programme in the near future, which will also work as the first step towards building consumer affiliations with teams. With all these efforts and support from IHF, PHL is set to become a sporting spectacle,” Venkateish added.
S S Dasgupta, Chairman & Managing Director, Leisure Sports Management (LSM), said, “We have used our experience to provide value in structuring the tournament and working at on-ground logistics for the smooth functioning of the league.”
The league will have two tiers with five teams each in the first year. Tier I will be called the 'Premier Division' and Tier II will be called the 'First Division'. The teams will have names like Sher-e-Jallandhar, Maratha Warriors, Chennai Veerans, Hyderabad Sultans, Bangalore High-Flyers, Delhi Dazzlers, Lucknow Nawabs, Imphal Rangers, Bengal Tigers and Chandigarh Dynamos.
PHL will feature players from foreign countries like Pakistan, South Korea, Spain and others.