STAR India, which runs India’s leading sports network Star Sports, today, committed an investment of over Rs.1500 crore in the sport of Hockey over the next 8 years – an investment hitherto unprecedented in the history of the game thus making Star India well and truly the biggest global investor in the game of Hockey. Star Sports has displayed a never seen before commitment to Hockey and alongside Hockey India and International Hockey Federation (FIH) embarked upon a journey to promote the game.
Nitin Kukreja, Head of Sports Business, Star India, said, “Our aim is to transform the sporting landscape and imbibe a culture of multiple sports in India. Sports broadcasters in India have traditionally invested only in Cricket but shied away from committing such heavy investments in other games. We are putting money where our mouth is. We believe Hockey has potential for growth but needs certain key ingredients to come together. We believe that a vibrant local league, international events in India including the 2018 Hockey World Cup, world class production coverage are essential ingriedents to popularize the sport and help nurture future champions.”
Star Sports is set to create a new global benchmark in Hockey broadcasting with the telecast of the second edition of the Hockey India League. Showcasing ‘The New Face of Hockey’, Star Sports’ has invested over Rs. 100 crore in the promotion and production of the second edition of HHIL which starts in 2 days. This is unprecedented investment by a broadcaster in any local league in the country with the exception of IPL. The broadcaster will showcase Hockey like it has been never done before whether in India or anywhere else across the world.
Star Sports’ plans to make the Hockey India League broadcast an immersive, engaging and pleasurable viewing experience for the Indian hockey fan. The idea is to take the consumer closer to the game and make them understand the game better. Star Sports has hired International Management Group (IMG) to produce the second edition of HHIL. Israel-based specialized sports agency Prometheus has been entrusted with the responsibility of developing cutting edge graphics suitable for Hockey broadcast. The broadcaster will use as many as 20 Cameras for the very first time in the history of the sport for each and every match during the league – covering every piece of action on the Astroturf.
Additionally, adding to the viewing experience will be the fact that Star Sports is treating HHIL at par with international cricket. The league will be showcased not only in English on Star Sports 1 and Star Sports HD1, but will also be showcased in Hindi on Star Sports 3. Starsports.com will stream all matches live of the tournament for Hockey loving fans across the world.
Speaking on the occasion, Viren Rasquinha, Former India Hockey Captain, said, “This kind of investment will undoubtedly go a long way in building the popularity of the sport of Hockey, not just in India but across the world. It is important that we create role-models and heroes that are household names in Hockey, much like some of our celebrated cricketers, so that Hockey becomes aspirational and people take to the game. Everyone knows that for a revolution like that to happen any game needs a committed broadcaster like Star Sports who is in it for the long haul. A lot has changed in Indian hockey in the last two years post the introduction of HHIL. A lot of money has come in which is welcome news. Earlier, Indian players used to scout opportunities to play overseas for different clubs. Now, the reverse is happening. India is bound to emerge as the hub of international hockey with one FIH event as well as HHIL happening every year. This is bound to have a positive impact on the fortunes of Indian Hockey and I can only anticipate the future with some element of pride.”
Former Pakistan Hockey Captain Tahir Zaman, added, “Hockey like cricket holds a lot of potential, especially in the sub-continent. Both Pakistan and India have been powerhouses in the sport, but while some of the other games like Cricket made rapid strides, Hockey got left behind. A large part of that was due to the fact, that one could not make a living out of the sport in the past and we played the game purely for the love of the game. However, now with investments by entities like Star Sports into the game and global leagues like the Hero Hockey India League, I see a bright future for our sport. This can only be good for the development of the game. At grass root level, more and more people will aspire to pick up a Hockey stick and serve the game – I foresee a bright future for the sport in the long term.”
Star Sports has erected a world class set for pre and post shows of the league. The studio team in English will be led by former BBC presenter Michael Absalom. In Hindi, STAR Sports has roped Vidya Malvade (of Chak De India fame) as the lead anchor.
The channel’s experts and sports commentary team comprises some of the most eminent names of Hockey folklore.