CHENNAI: Getting the contract is one thing and actualising is another. Especially in a market that is as skewed when it comes to sponsoring sport in the country. Though things for Olympic sport have changed considerably since Beijing 2008, getting sponsors and generating revenue for a brand like Indian Olympic Association will be a challenge.
With more and more stars emerging and given the plummeting fortunes of cricket — on and off the field — other sports are getting a look-in, but ensuring steady inflow of money will be a big test. The IOA, because of its functioning, is not looked upon as a brand with a lot of value. The situation is better after the International Olympic Committee lifted its sanctions two years ago, but because of a chequered past, it’s looked at with skepticism. The credibility of the product is not very strong.
Even IOS Sports and Entertainment CEO and MD Neerav Kumar is aware of it. “I know but things are changing,” he told Express from Delhi. “We have made a bid and secured it. So there’s no point thinking about it. I am aware of the challenges. Yes, it will take time to build the brand but it is possible.”
Asked how he will generate the promised revenue — `10-12 crore — by Rio Olympics, Tomar said nothing is impossible. “We have been in talks with some interested parties and have got positive feedback as well,” he said. “We should not look at athletes as individuals. We have to look at the Indian contingent as a group and then project it as a brand. If we create the right perception, we can definitely create the real value for IOA. Success of India is also crucial. We have won six medals in London and in Rio we hope to increase it. There are sponsors keen to invest. There are a lot of private companies who want to be associated with nationalism before the Olympics,” said Tomar.
“Basically, we need to have a modern perspective,” said N Ramachandran, president of the IOA. “Our idea is to ensure steady inflow of money over a longer period.” Not just that the IOA is planning to let out a part of the IOA Bhavan on rent, it is also looking at intellectual properties like awards functions or mini-Olympics for students or corporates.
“We are planning to create properties like the Laureus Awards,” said Tomar, whose company has been managing stars like MC Mary Kom, Gagan Narang, Sushil Kumar and Vijender Singh.