Prajjal Saha

Ten Sports says, bye-bye Dravid, hello Dhanraj

TEN sports bets on the growing popularity of hockey and its stars; bags the telecast rights for the Rabobank Quadrangular hockey tournament

Got bored of too much cricket? Well, help is at hand because TEN Sports has just bagged the telecast rights for the four nation hockey tournament - The Rabobank Quadrangular Hockey Tournament.

The tournament, to be held in the Netherlands between June 27 and July 2, 2004, will be played between four hockey nations - Olympic gold medalist and Champions Trophy winner Netherlands, world champion Germany, Asia Cup champion India and hockey power house Pakistan.

Sharmista Rijhwani, managing director, TEN Sports, says, "Since our launch, hockey has been one of our prime initiatives. We have always believed that the game has every potential to take its place among other high profile sports like cricket and soccer."

Although the channel declined to divulge the money spent to bag this deal, Rijhwani said that the channel had to make a big investment as hockey does not find too many broadcasters outside the sub-continent, who are looking to film and broadcast the event in their respective countries.

So, the channel will have to bear the additional cost of hiring an entire Dutch production crew and flying over the commentary team, along with the satellite uplink system and the technical team, she said.

The Indian hockey team has performed well in the last one year. Has the home team's recent successes inspired the channel to bag a hockey property and that too with some additional expenses?

Rijhwani agrees. "The recent success of the Indian hockey team has produced stars such as Jugraj Singh and Gagan Ajit Singh, et al. We also have players of the calibre of Dhanraj Pillay. The success and the new pin-ups boys of hockey have definitely helped increase the fan-following for the game," she says.

TVR data supports the Ten Sports boss' statement. As per TAM Media Research, C&S, 15+ Males, SEC ABC, the Champions Trophy held in August 2003 had a TVR of 2.1 for top six metros. The TVR was as high as 4.5 in sports crazy city Kolkata, followed by Delhi and Mumbai with a TVR of 2.3 and 2.0 respectively. The tournament had a TVR of 1.8 at an all-India level.

Other hockey events such as Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and Men's Olympic qualifiers in March also achieved viewership ratings of 0.7 and 0.5, respectively. Rijhwani of TEN Sports says, "The TVRs of these hockey matches are higher than many non-India cricket properties - which has an average TVR of 0.2 and 0.3. This is a testament to the fast growing popularity and future potential of the sport."

To promote this event, TEN Sports plans to take viewers through some of the golden moments in hockey. The channel will be telecasting some of the memorable hockey matches of the recent past, especially those in which the Indian team had a great victory. The classic India-Pakistan clash in Champions Trophy 2003, where India beat Pakistan 7-4, is one such instance.

Apart from this, the channel will also continue with its special focus on individual players. The initiative, which was started during the Champions Trophy, would see the channel beaming a set of 20-30 second interstitials - highlighting the playing skills of individual Indian players.

Rijhwani says, "The basic idea is to make people relate to these players. The short features will reflect the special quality of each player."

Some more successes on the field and a few such tournaments promoted by sports channels may well see the national game hockey relive its past glory. Amen. © 2004 agencyfaqs!

Have news to share? Write to us