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    Football and Formula 1 mania shows that India will move beyond cricket in 2012

    Synopsis

    The mania around the ace footballer and chamption Formula 1 racer’s India stopovers in 2011 served to brighten the hope that India will, soon, graduate into a multi-sport nation. The signs are already evident.

    Lionel Messi and Michael Schumacher did their bit to take our eye off Virender Sehwag’s hi-jinks with the bat and Ravichandran Ashwin’s, well, marital debut.

    The mania around the ace footballer and chamption Formula 1 racer’s India stopovers in 2011 served to brighten the hope that India will, soon, graduate into a multi-sport nation. The signs are already evident. The country’s first F1 race was a hit.

    The Barclays Premier League ensures that interest in football remains. And a few mega brands are willing to back such sports. Hiren Pandit, national director, sports, at media agency MindShare, explains, “Today, brands are looking at associations with a variety of sports because there are mechanisms of measuring the valuation. A client can know how much RoE he can get from his money. Earlier, it was pure estimation.”

    Hero MotoCorp has set aside Rs 100 crore annually for different sports. The Hero Indian Open Golf has a prize money of $1.25 million — the largest purse for an open field sport in Asia. Satellite TV has played its part in popularising other sports too. Take, for instance, Neo Sports’ calendar for 2012: Euro 2012, US PGA Tour, Davis Cup, Fed Cup and World Series Hockey.

    Advertisers are also associating with varied sports. Prasanna Krishnan, COO, Neo Sports, says that a 10-second spot for an ODI telecast can cost Rs 4.5 lakh. “For other sports it could be Rs 5,000,” adds Krishnan. Transstadia, a company that is into sports infrastructure, is investing Rs 200 crore to build a multi-purpose stadium in Ahmedabad and it has brought the World Series Boxing to India. Let the games begin.
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