ESPN STAR Sports is going all out to build wrestling as a major property, after acquiring the rights for TNA Wrestling in May this year. The key to its strategy to take the popularity of this property to the next level is Indianisation, whereby it launched TNA Wrestling in Hindi in August this year. This initiative is in line with the strategy to constantly innovate and localise content to suit the taste of Indian audiences.
ESPN STAR Sports has now embarked on a major marketing campaign to boost this property. On Thursday, Mumbai will witness ‘live action’ involving three wrestlers, one of whom is of Indian origin. All three wrestlers will thereafter go to Lucknow, Ludhiana, Bhopal, Nagpur and Vadodara.
Sonjoy Dutt is the Indian-American wrestler, while the other two are leading wrestlers of TNA Wrestling – Simon Diamond and Shark Boy. Dutt is the only Indian in the professional wrestling circuit in the US. His popularity rose significantly in India post-TNA’s telecast on ESPN STAR Sports.
ESPN Software India’s Director-Marketing Nirmal Dayani felt, “Indian consumers can relate to programming and commentary in an Indian language. Special anchors and segments have been created for presenting wrestling in Hindi.”
Dayani explained that the marketing plan was based on the concept of Indianisation of TNA Wrestling – “remixed a la Indian style”. He added that ESPN STAR Sports would provide both on-air and on-ground support to build up the visit.
“We would customise this property with Indianisation being the sole objective. We want to customise wrestling in Hindi and show people how to understand the sport. We have created special programming for this event,” he further said.
Dayani added that ESPN STAR Sports had tied up with Bollywood stars Salman Khan and Anil Kapoor. “Anil Kapoor is going to be there for this mega event. We are also doing a lot of campaigns to make this event popular in all cities,” he said.