#MeriDoosriCountry is now Sony Sports' signature campaign for football: Neville Bastawalla
Bastawalla, Head – Marketing & On-Air Promotions, Sports Channels, Sony Pictures Networks India, discusses the network's in-house campaign for UEFA Euro 2020
Sony Pictures Sports Network (SPSN) has been gearing up for the broadcast of Europe’s biggest football tournament, UEFA Euro 2020, which was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. Starting from June 11, 2021, the tournament will be aired live on Sony TEN 2 and Sony TEN 3 (in Hindi) in India.
The official broadcaster has already launched the teaser campaign with its #MeriDoosriCountry films to bring fans closer to their teams leading to UEFA Euro 2020. The network has launched four films for its teaser campaign that were conceptualized and created-in house by SPSN’s marketing team. Neville Bastawalla, Head – Marketing & On-Air Promotions, Sports Channels, Sony Pictures Networks India Private Ltd., lets us in on the details.
“The campaign was done in-house by the marketing team. We wanted to create the buzz for Euro starting now and building it up over the next four-five months because the football tournament has a similar kind of buzz that FIFA World Cup has. The aim was to start marketing the tournament from the beginning of the year starting with our own network. Also, #MeriDoosriCountry has now become the signature of Sony Sports for football,” shared Bastawalla.
He pointed out that though India is not represented in football at the global level, Indians do have their favourite country to support in the game. Bastawalla believes that #MeriDoosriCountry is a strong proposition for the Euro. The tournament had embarked upon with the FIFA World Cup 2018 that saw unprecedented viewership as 177 million people watched FIFA in a month. “We discussed that there is no need to discard the campaign because it’s over and decided to take it forward. Hence we launched the teaser campaign #MeriDoosriCountry and started with fan rivalry between the supporters across the country.”
With four films launch so far in phase one of the brand campaign for Euro, Neville said that the network plans to launch four-five more before the main campaign. Through their signature campaign, SPSN aims to draw in the attention of both fans and fringe-viewers to root for their favourite countries with the same passion and intensity as they would for their own country.
The channel will broadcast the football tournament in six languages including Hindi, English, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Bengali. He said, “This will help us to scale up the tournament as our benchmark is clearly high after the success of 2018 FIFA.”
Unlike last year when most of the major sports tournaments were cancelled due to the pandemic, 2021 has been packed with back-to-back sports tournaments. Since most of the states of the country are currently under lockdown or weekend lockdown, Bastawalla believes that it won’t have any impact on any sporting event in terms of sponsorship.
“Some events might face small hiccups regarding crowds in certain locations if COVID cases go up, but I don’t think broadcast will get impacted anywhere. Also, we are hopeful that in a few month’s time everything will be sorted.” He mentioned that during the West Indies tour of England which took place in the middle of the lockdown last year, the network was packed with sponsors. The series had over nine sponsors.
While speaking about the marketing plans for the football tournament, Bastawalla shared that television and digital play an important role in SPSN marketing strategies. “There has been on-ground engagement and activation in the strategy which has gone down because of the lockdown. However, we have plans to do some activities with our audience online for this football tournament.”
As one of the most celebrated and largest football events, UEFA EURO’s has established itself as one of world football's most exciting competitions. The 2021 edition of the UEFA Euro 2020 marks the 60th anniversary of this competition and will feature 24 teams from across Europe. Fans will get to watch some of the best footballers in the world like Cristiano Ronaldo, Antoine Griezmann, Harry Kane, Toni Kroos, Paul Pogba, Kylian Mbappè to name a few compete for the coveted title. Rome's Stadio Olimpico will host the opening match on June 11, while England's national stadium Wembley will stage both semi-finals and the final.
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