ISMF 2009: ‘We are at the cusp of a major sports revolution happening in India’

A little bit of drama, winning performances, some smart marketing and advent of new technologies could go a long way in attracting more eyeballs and the growth of sports. These formed the crux of discussions at the session on ‘Scale of Sports Businesses - A Broadcasters Perspective’ at the India Sports Marketing Forum (ISMF) 2009 held in the Capital on October 30.

e4m by Robin Thomas
Updated: Nov 2, 2009 7:42 AM
ISMF 2009: ‘We are at the cusp of a major sports revolution happening in India’

A little bit of drama making the game even more interesting, especially during the game’s climax, would attract more eyeballs. Even for an annual event like IPL, the challenge is to bring in innovations year after year in order to retain the audiences and draw newer ones. Even if it is a good sport, one can kill it if not marketed well, these were the experts’ views at the session on ‘Scale of Sports Businesses - A Broadcasters Perspective’ at the India Sports Marketing Forum (ISMF) 2009 held in the Capital on October 30.

ISMF is being organised by the exchange4media Group in association with T10 Gully Cricket and Powered by TAM Sports.

The panel also mulled over the growth that newer technologies such as 3G could bring to the sports arena. With the 2010 Commonwealth Games barely a year away, it was discussed at length, as to how this sports extravaganza could give a tremendous fillip to sports and sports marketing in India.

The session was moderated by Latika Khaneja, Director, Collage Sports and the panelists included Ayaz Memon, Editor-at-Large, DNA; Rohit Gupta, President - Network Sales, Licensing and Telephony, Sony Entertainment Television; Satish Menon, CEO, Sports18; and Sandeep Bamzai, COO, Sportz Network Pvt Ltd.

Latika Khaneja, Director, Collage Sports, (Moderator):

“The future of sports is bright, but even a sport like cricket needs innovation to attract eyeballs. In the near future, technology would drive the growth of sports in India, especially given the huge youth population here.”

Ayaz Memon, Editor-at-Large, DNA:

“We are at the cusp of a major sports revolution happening in the country. Public-private partnerships are something that we can see in future and once this happens, things will start moving aggressively. Sports is also part of the entertainment industry, and if the audiences are not entertained, they will not come back. Some of the new mediums and avenues for Indian sports will come from the Internet.”

Rohit Gupta, President - Network Sales, Licensing and Telephony, Sony Entertainment Television:

“We strongly believe there is value in sports. Sports bodies need to do a lot to grow other sports today, in fact, television today is doing more towards moulding sportspersons than the Sports Federation. Even cricket has to grow, the challenge for the Indian Premier League (IPL), for instance, is to innovate every year and market the product year-on-year. This should not be limited only to cricket, for any sport to grow, even if it is a good sport, it needs to be marketed well. While the audience is available for sports other than cricket, the task is making that sport big, and to top it all, we need to make heroes out of these sportspersons.”

Satish Menon, CEO, Sports18:

“The future is being able to re-format sports. You need to create drama around sports, which is what IPL was all about. It has to be a combination of sports and entertainment. There is a need to work closely with the federations and what also needs to be done is nurturing talent right from the school level. The onus, however, is on the marketers to take Indian sports to a new level. India being a young nation, with a high segment of its population being young, it will be technology that will drive a lot of these sports. The future is bright for Indian sports, and with new technologies coming in, there will be many more mediums that will open up.”

Sandeep Bamzai, COO, Sportz Network Pvt Ltd:

“What we have seen in cricket only recently, one thing learnt is that India has to play well or it will not work. The year 2009 will be remembered by various stakeholders that it is time for them to wake up and smell the coffee. If you have people winning at prestigious events and sportspersons making a mark, they will certainly be recognised by advertisers and sponsors. If you really need to give sports an extra push, then you need more champions of that sport, you need people who are articulate and smart and eventually, you will see people looking up to them.”

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