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Sports channels see an ally in movies for audience engagement

28-November-2008
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Sports channels see an ally in movies for audience engagement

While there have been numerous movies with sports as the main theme, there is a growing trend being seen where sports channels are entering into strategic partnerships with Bollywood movies. P9 integrated claims to be the only movie marketing company to launch such initiatives.

Neo has recently tied up with animated film ‘Jumbo’, which has roped in actor Akshay Kumar for a series of initiatives, including a contest – ‘Jumbo of the Match’. This contest is being promoted through a promo featuring Akshay, where viewers have to choose their favourite player of the India-England series. One winner will be chosen from each match, who will get to meet the actor.

There are other instances of such Bollywood-sports channel tie-ups as well. Neo Sports had earlier tied up with ‘Saawariya’, ESPN-STAR Sports had tied up with films like ‘Welcome’ and ‘Heyy Baby’, ‘Salaam-e-Ishq’ had associated itself with the English Premier League and the Premier Hockey League. The Indian Cricket League (ICL), too, is continuously being approached by various production houses for such partnerships. One such film that has partnered with ICL is ‘Ek Vivaah Aisa Bhi’. Yash Raj Films, too, have approached the League for a shoot in their Chandigarh stadium. The League claims to have a couple of more films lined up for such partnerships.

Speaking to exchange4media, Manish Mathur, COO, P9 Integrated, said, “It is all about partnership between cricket and movies. Most of the tie-ups that we do are with cricket. However, our non-cricket tie-ups, too, help us get exposure to cricket. It does not matter with which sport we partner as long as we are getting an Indian cricket exposure, and the response we got from previous film tie-ups were phenomenonal.”

Mathur further said that movie marketing was a very clean way of reaching out to consumers despite a very limited budget, resulting in high TRPs, thus working favourably for both the sports channel and the movie. This would indeed be a perfect time for films to partner with sports channels as the on-going India-England cricket series is delivering good numbers.

Abhishek Verma, Associate Vice President - Marketing, Neo Sports, said, “A partnership like the one we have with ‘Jumbo’ is a great opportunity for us to build viewership and engage them through contests.”

Verma also spoke about Neo Sports being part of an in-film brand, where they have partnered with a Harman Baweja film called ‘Victory’, which is based on cricket. He further said that brand integration in sports was a great opportunity as sports had mass appeal, just like bollywood. “Thus, it makes great sense for us to integrate with films, which results in broadening the appeal of the channel.”

Ten Sports, which has just recently the PCB rights through 2013, is also considering tie-ups with movies for its upcoming properties. Chris McDonald, CEO, Ten Sports, said, “Yes, we are certainly considering several innovative and creative tie-ups, which we will be announcing soon.”

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