‘A couple of years’ for sports sponsorship to mature in India

The chief executive of one of the teams competing in India's new Pro Kabbadi League talks about the challenges of raising corporate sponsorship.

Akhil Ranade is the chief executive of the Bengaluru Bulls, one of the teams competing in India’s newly launched Pro Kabaddi League. He talks about the challenges of raising corporate sponsorship.

Are you finding it challenging to secure sponsorship?

We are not finding it so easy to sell sponsorships. This kind of packaging of kabaddi has never happened. This is the first year we are going to have kabaddi on television like this, so clients are a little sceptical about getting on board. It is a very tough sell right now. It will take a couple of years for the market to mature. We are being sensible in terms of not selling the sponsorships at a very low rate here because we do not want to undersell it for next year.

Is the slowdown in India’s economy having an impact?

Right now people are very wary of taking the plunge into sponsorship. The economy has been a little difficult for the last couple years here in India, so marketing spends are limited. People are taking a wait and watch approach. Because there is no growth happening, they are wary of increasing marketing spend or experimenting with new things. Marketing right now is not a top priority but maybe next year the scenario will be much better and we will be able to get a lot more interest generated then. The title sponsor for the kabaddi league is also the broadcaster, which is Star Sports.

How successful to you expect the Pro Kabaddi League to be?

The first year we will have to bite the bullet and do the business in the right way, put across the team and the franchisee and the television part of it in the right way – so at least next year we will have a model ready which we can go and approach sponsors with and show the numbers that are delivered by a sport like kabaddi. We are working to ensure this is not just a one-year league.

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Published: July 26, 2014 04:00 AM

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