STAR Sports picks Dhoni to promote Barclays Premier League soccer!

STAR Sports, the leading sports channels, has appointed Indian Cricket team captain and youth icon, M S Dhoni, as the brand ambassador to promote Barclays Premier League soccer (BPL) in India. A keen soccer enthusiast and a Manchester United fan, MS 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.

This 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.

Speaking on the occasion, Vijay Rajput, Chief Operating Officer, ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd., 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 MS 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 BPL campaign will build on MS Dhoni’s love for football. He will invite sports fans in India to “Join the Game”. The campaign has interesting renditions of how MS 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.

Speaking on the association, MS Dhoni, said, “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 week-ends. Soccer is extremely exciting and very close to my heart. I was a goal keeper during my school days. Even today, I play soccer as a warm up game ahead of key cricket matches.

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.”

STAR Sports has aggressive production plans for non-live programming on this season of BPL in Hindi.  The support of non-live programming through the season will play a key role in educating consumers about the league. The broadcaster plans to showcase highlight shows, weekly show based on ‘goals’; and a weekly magazine show which will review and preview the latest developments from BPL. The sports channel has started off non-live programming with a 6 episode build-up show ‘Superstar Football’ which focuses on multiple facets of the league – famous owners, top clubs, top players etc.

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 has recently showcased FIFA Confederations Cup 2013.



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