A few years ago, no one could ever imagine a sports league other than a cricket one in India. Neither could we imagine a hockey player being sold for Rs. 42.5 lacs, like Sardar Singh was. Even though hockey is our national sport unofficially, it was never considered lucrative enough. Two botched attempts at a hockey league seemed to solidify that. But third time is the charm, and the Hockey India League is now poised to change the sport in India. Hockey by its nature isn’t the easiest game to pick up as you need a stick and a ball. And the stick is not as easily available as a cricket bat. The game proliferates in India though, and we have a richly chequered history. It hasn’t translated into success as a economically glamorous sport. Until now.
The success of Hockey India League hasn’t been completely unanticipated, but no one could have seen the extent of it. Prepare to be astonished; according to numbers, the average weekly reach of Hockey India League has been 1.7 times that of the UEFA EURO 2012′s reach, for its first six matches. Looking at the domestic scene, its reach has been 24 times that of the average weekly reach of the I-League. The Hockey India League has beaten the numbers of World Series Hockey as well. Its had double the number of viewers which WSH had in its first week about a year ago.
A look at the numbers:
- World Series Hockey: 6.3 million viewers in first week
- UEFA EURO 2012: 0.85 crore viewers for its first six matches
- Hockey India League: 1.46 crore viewers in the first week for six matches.
The groundwork for the success of Hockey India League was laid by the last two leagues. Last year’s World Series Hockey saw 31.36 million viewers having tuned in to the matches, according to a TAM sports report. The Hockey India League has a lot going for it, which in turn, has made it so successful.
Having the very best players come in to play in the league has given it international exposure. Each team consists of 14 Indian and 10 foreign players, lending a healthy mix to the teams. The best players in the world also give the standard of the game a huge boost. For young Indian players to get exposure by playing with these stars, it improves their game as well. This is sort of like a All-Star selection of hockey stars, and it gives them the best exposure possible.
Of the 26 Olympic medals we have won, 11 have come from hockey. Last year’s Olympics did not see the Indian hockey team make many waves. The players had boasted of showing off their abs after scoring goals but they didn’t end up scoring nearly enough. And taking off your shirt after scoring in a game, which you are losing is just not done. Regardless of our team’s performance, it brought increased eyeballs to the sport, which was touted as our national sport. It also came to light that hockey is not really India’s official sport, leading to much chagrin all around. Any publicity is good publicity for the sport they say, the wave of the Olympics has carried over to the Hockey India league.
Oversaturation of cricket
Up, down, left, right, cricket surrounds us. It had become omnipresent in India. It was hard to change channels without stumbling over cricket in some form. The market had become over-saturated with cricket. In contrast, they Hockey India League will only have 34 matches being played over 28 days. Making a commodity rare helps to improve its demand. Price-scarcity theory anyone? Apparently cricket organizers overlooked it entirely. But the Hockey India League hasn’t, and it comes at a time when we seem to have had too much of cricket.
Franchisee led teams
Having franchisee led teams like the IPL increases the spending power of the teams and the individual effort which a franchise makes to improve the team and sport. They are looking for publicity, and will promote the sport as much as they can to get it. Having home and away matches also is a new dimension which makes for fun rivalries.
The Hockey India League has also contributed towards increased production in the market of hockey goods. Unlike the NBA, where the jerseys are all produced by sponsored sellers, several local manufacturers have been selected as official suppliers of various teams in this league. Its expected that this will lead to three or four fold increase in the market of hockey goods. Currently the hockey market makes about Rs 60 crore. Such an increase would be substantial indeed. And it will help increase the popularity of the sport. With the way this is going, perhaps the day is not far where we will be calling hockey the national sport of India, not just thanks to the glory of the past.
Source : sidbreakball/sportskeeda
Match-Fixing Widespread in Soccer
Europol’s chief, Rob Wainwright, said hundreds of games might have been fixed. Nearly $11 million in profits and nearly $3 million in bribes were discovered during the investigation.
Soccer is known throughout much of the world as the beautiful game. But the sport’s ugliest side — the scourge of match-fixing — will not soon go away. With the 2014 World Cup in Brazil drawing closer, a European police intelligence agency said recently that its 19-month investigation, code-named Operation Veto, revealed widespread occurrences of match-fixing in recent years, with 680 games globally deemed suspicious. The extent was staggering: some 150 international matches, mostly in Africa, Asia and Latin America; roughly 380 games in Europe, covering World Cup and European championship qualifiers as well as two Champions League games; and games that run the gamut from lower-division semiprofessional matches to contests in top domestic leagues…Europol described a wide-ranging network of fixing that struck at the sport’s core. Nearly $11 million in profits and nearly $3 million in bribes were discovered during the investigation, which uncovered “match-fixing activity on a scale we have not seen before,” Wainwright, the director of the police intelligence agency, known as Europol, said.