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Last Updated : Oct 09, 2019 06:33 PM IST | Source: Moneycontrol.com

Here's why Tata Motors is betting crores on wrestling

Tata Motors also gives scholarship to junior players with potential.

Maryam Farooqui @farooqui_maryam
 
 
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Do you know Tata Motors is investing a little over Rs 100 crore in the sport of wrestling?

According to industry estimates, the huge amount goes beyond just sponsorship and the money will be spent on developing wrestling as a game.

Tata Motors also gives scholarship to junior players with potential.

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"Tata Motors are our principal sponsor for Indian wrestling. Our relationship started in 2018 in June. This became the largest sponsorship partnership in non-cricket sport. Last December, we got into another partnership with Tata Motors where they are taking care of the development of the sport like getting foreign coaches for the players," said Ashish Chadha, CEO of Sporty Solutionz and UWW (United World Wrestling) rights holder for the Indian Subcontinent.

Tata Motors has signed a deal with Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) with Sporty Solutionz facilitating the deal.

Sporty Solutionz, who are the commercial partners of wrestling in India as well as of the global body which is United World Wrestling (UWW), has acquired all the global and Indian rights for wrestling events.

Along with this strong partnership, Sporty Solutionz is aggressively promoting wrestling.

One way is through showing content around wrestling all year long.

But where?

Wrestling matches and more will air on a platform called Wrestling TV which was launched by Sporty Solutionz on September 14 this year.

Wrestling TV was launched with the Wrestling World Championship, the event that ran from September 14-22. The broadcast rights were acquired by Sony and non-exclusive digital rights was with SonyLiv. Hence, the event was aired on Wrestling TV as well.

But now the plan is to keep all the wrestling events exclusive to Wrestling TV and this is why Chadha expects the viewership for the platform to increase manifold.

“We would like to reach out to 10 million minimum users a month within next quarter. And by the end of the next quarter, we would like to touch 25 million user base which we feel can be achieved. And then this will be great way to monetize it in terms of advertising and subscription,” he said.

The World Wrestling Championship saw as many as 6.5 million unique users on Wrestling TV alone.

Plus, the content pipeline looks strong.

They now have 120 days of live content in a year.

“Next 60 days you have 34 days of live content coming up. Form October 8 onwards there will be World Veteran Championship in Georgio, then Under-23 World Championship in Budapest, Women World Cup in Japan. All the big global events we will be broadcasting it,” said Chadha.

“Right now, there is no broadcaster who is equipped to carry that much content, Chadha added.

“In the last six years of our journey we realized that most of the Olympic sports cannot be commercially monetized and the biggest reason is they are not being broadcast enough.”

“That is the reason we decided to do this particular model where along with broadcaster we will engage with our consumer in a year-long ecosystem,” he added.

Currently, there are no subscription charges for watching content on Wrestling TV.

With an aim to develop wrestling as the biggest Olympic sport in India, a lot of focus is concentrated on the encouragement of players as well. One way of doing this was by following the contract system like in cricket.

“We became the first sport in the country besides cricket to handover the contracts to the players. So, today the way BCCI gives retainers to its players the same way we give retainers to our players. All our top players get retainers. Not as large as cricketers though,” said Chadha.

“For any sport to be successful commercially or as a viewing spectacle, the basic thing required is you need to have heroes in that particular sport. And our players are performing and with them we can market the sport. There is huge potential in the country and it (wrestling) has good following amid the masses,” he added.

Wrestling gaining momentum in India

The sport has strong following can be validated from the fact that the World Wrestling Championship on Wrestling TV saw people spending as much as 26 minutes watching the sport. The time comes close to what people spend for cricket.

In addition, Chadha said that 58 percent of the users came in from A1 cities. “It (wrestling) has got urban audience unlike what we thought that it is popular amid the rural audience,” said Chadha.

Exploring innovative content from original shows to inside stories

Chadha has more plans to promote wrestling in India. One of them is creating own intellectual properties (IPs) in association with Wrestling Federation of India, the governing body of the sport in the country.

By IPs he means more original content in wrestling like international ground events in India. “We will be developing global tournaments where Indian teams will be pitched against global teams,” said Chadha.

“The entire calendar (for IPs) will start from April onwards. We are building ground properties in India which will be streaming on our platform as well as a broadcaster,” he added.

So, if you are a fan of wrestling then you can be hooked on to the sport all year long as there is updated news on Wrestling TV, plus live content and catch-up content. And there's another interesting content in the works which is in the non-live segment.

"We will be launching original shows and show how wrestlers train themselves and their inside stories," said Chadha.

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First Published on Oct 9, 2019 05:42 pm

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