STAR Sports India will spend Rs 1,500 crore over eight years on developing production and marketing for hockey in India.
The network recently won the International Hockey Federation’s broadcast rights for that period. As part of the deal, the federation will include in its calender one major international hockey tournament a year in India, including the 2018 men's world cup.The network has also earmarked Rs 100 crore for the second season of the Hero Hockey India League, which kicks off on January 25.The league will see 34 matches being played over 30 days. Nitin Kukreja, head of sports business, says, “This time we will be airing 24 matches in the prime time band at 8 pm. This is a learning from the previous season. Also, we had added some new features in the live telecast that should make for better and more interesting viewing.”The live telecast of the matches will have graphics that will explain aspects of the game to those new to it. The graphics will include details like names of players, shot routes and estimated distance to the goal. The channel has enhanced the commentary team to include the likes of Michael Absalom, Viren Rasquinha and A B Subbaiah in English and Vidya Malvade, Harender Singh and Tahir Zaman in Hindi.STAR Sports has hired the International Management Group to produce the second edition. Israel-based sports agency Prometheus will develop the graphics. The broadcaster will use 20 cameras for every match.The matches will be relayed on STAR Sports 1 (in English), STAR Sports 2 (in Hindi), STAR Sports HD1 and Starsports.com.Kukreja said returns on investment for the league were expected only in two or three years. “It is a big risk we are taking and we are aware that we may not break even this year. We are in it for the long term.”He added the advertisers’ response to the league was lukewarm.Mona Jain, chief executive, Vivaki Exchange, said, “STAR Sports has the network strength and resources to promote a sports other than cricket in the country. While the 2013 season of the league may not have done so well, this year things could be slightly better. Hockey is a good sports to invest in and I am sure they have plans to market the event aggressively.”