Vijay Anand | The Startup Guy.

The Hockey Strike. The Story of a Brand.

Posted on: September 27, 2007

Well, Ladies and gentlemen, if we thought that we never would see India win a World cup in India in our lifetime, we were so wrong. We are, it seems, the new champions when it comes to Twenty 20 Cricket. I must say, it was an impressive display of determination, nerve-wrecking tension and success.

Not everybody is happy about this. I guess some folks forgot that when a team wins, they also get a truck load of compliments and “gifts”. When Rathore won the bronze in the Olympics, for a while we saw him all over the place in advertisements. We have had our moments of seeing Leander Paes in some advertisements and in the role of a brand ambassador. We have and do continue to see Sania Mirza representing quite a few brands. Narain Karthikeyan has its own brand that he carries as the fastest Indian. I am not even taking into account the ads that Sachin and the well-known cricket players appear for. The point is simple – there is a brand behind all of these sports.

The following question would be, ah… tell me one hockey player whom most can recall. I can’t think of any.

If we have to get into a bit of the gory details, There are quite a few fingers pointed towards the government on the count of partial treatment towards cricket and against hockey. I’d call BS on that. For one, the state government has its own funds and they are free to disperse them as they see fit. If one state minister decides to do something about their boys who went and brought home the cup, well that’s their call. It still has nothing to do with the “government’ per se. The finer detail is that, the amount that the state government granted was a few lakhs. Have you ever noticed how much money gets shipped out when it rains for a few more days and what is spent in the name of relief efforts? – as ineffective as may be as well? The underlying point is that, its not the government who is being partial. We are.

Let me point another interesting note. The BCCI (The Indian Cricket Federation) is one of the most wealthiest and loaded cricket association in the whole wide world. Any advertisement that is done in the name of cricket, using any of the players, and the revenue that BCCI makes in the name of broadcasting rights and in content distribution is huge. The core of that revenue are the players and their winning streak. BCCI has every reason to incentivize their players so that their agenda remains healthy.

Well, what about Hockey, you ask? Well, the Government did allocate 490+ crores (approx 100 Million USD) in the name of sports and games fund. 150 crores is being allocated just for training the athletes for the Commonwealth games. I am sure the hockey federation is getting their cut out of it. The point is that the hockey federation is getting the same treatment from the government as the Cricket federation. The same amount of funding. The difference is that while one of them decided to build a religion/cult/brand out of that sport, the other one is sitting on it doing nothing.

Even worse, while the team players are obviously upset about this whole thing, today’s news reads “The Hockey Federation distances itself from the issue”. So much for that!

Get a team to build a brand for hockey. We have a legacy of rocking in that sport. Bring some of those old players back. Raise corporate funding and train a team and go beat the bejesus out in a tournament. If Chak De is a runaway success, one thing is for sure. We are all secretly hoping that one day, it will be our hockey team that will come home with the world cup.

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1 Response to "The Hockey Strike. The Story of a Brand."

Yes Vijay,

You are right no doubt. Hockey does not have superstars – the present lot atleast.

The funny thing about Chak De India is that it has had more far reaching positive effects on cricket than any other sport 🙂

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