Star cricketer to vouch for soccer

By Raushni Bhagia , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Media Publishing | August 08, 2013
The channel will launch an integrated marketing campaign, 'Join the Game,' with M S Dhoni to promote the soccer tournament, Barclay's Premier League.

Barclays Premier League

Dhoni BPL Campaign

STAR Sports, one of the biggest sports networks in the country, has taken a new turn to promote the second most popular sport in India. The network has appointed Indian cricket team captain and youth icon, M S Dhoni, as the brand ambassador to promote Barclays Premier League soccer (BPL) in India.

A keen soccer enthusiast and a Manchester United fan, Dhoni will invite all sports fans to 'Join the Game' in an integrated marketing campaign which will be launched early next week. The campaign will have both on-air and digital media thrust.

This announcement comes on the back of the sports broadcaster announcing the launch of Hindi commentary for the first time on BPL. The Hindi commentary will be in addition to the English commentary and will be available for more than 100 live matches across the season.

In an official communiqué, Vijay Rajput, chief operating officer, ESPN Software India, says, "We are targeting to expand the fan base of BPL in India by leveraging the iconic power and fan following of M S Dhoni to attract cricket fans to sample BPL - Duniya ka sabse bada league. We want these fans to sample matches of BPL through the eyes of their biggest hero."

About the campaign, Rajput adds, "The core campaign idea is 'Join the Game'. The launch of BPL in Hindi is in line with our overall strategy of pushing multi-lingual content. We believe that if you want people to consume a lot of content, you should offer it to them in their language of comfort."

STAR Sports has aggressive production plans for non-live programming in Hindi during this season of BPL. The broadcaster suggests that the support of non-live programming through the season will play a key role in educating consumers about the league.

The broadcaster plans to showcase highlight shows, weekly shows based on 'goals'; and a weekly magazine show which will review and preview the latest developments from BPL. The sports channel has started off non-live programming with a six- episode build-up show, 'Superstar Football', which focuses on multiple facets of the league such as famous owners, top clubs and top players, amongst others.

In soccer, STAR Sports channels hold broadcast rights for Barclays Premier League, Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, the English FA Cup and England international matches and AFC Events. STAR Sports has recently showcased FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.

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