Star Sports has appointed Indian cricket team captain and youth icon, MS Dhoni, as its 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 a clutter-breaking integrated marketing campaign which will be launched early next week. The campaign will have a strong on-air and digital media thrust.
The 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 over 100 live matches across the season.
Vijay Rajput, Chief Operating Officer, ESPN Software India, said, “We are delighted to have MS Dhoni come on board as the brand ambassador for BPL in the country. We are targeting to expand the fan base of BPL in India by leveraging the iconic power and fan following of 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. 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.”
The campaign has interesting renditions of how Dhoni is always missing from action and is glued to the TV sets watching BPL every weekend while his family and friends run around looking for him.
Dhoni commented, “I am an avid BPL fan and I just played out a real situation in front of the camera. If I am not busy with cricket, I am always busy with BPL during weekends. Soccer is extremely exciting and very close to my heart. I was a goalkeeper during my school days. Even today, I play soccer as a warm-up game ahead of key cricket matches.”
Dhoni further said, “I feel that Indian sports fans should consume different types of sports. I want them to be passionate about cricket as they are, but at the same time one needs to give healthy respect for other disciplines as well. It is critical to spread the message of overall sports development and promotion in the country. This Star Sports initiative to provide soccer commentary now in Hindi will go a long way in making soccer exciting to watch and comprehend for new audiences across the nation. Similar efforts should be done to promote other sports as well.”
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 recently showcased the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.