The 14th edition of Men's Hockey World Cup, to be played from 28th November to 16th December at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, has successfully injected a heavy dose of sport fever into the state.
Famous for being the abode of Lord Jagannath, long beaches and world famous ikkats, is Odhisha packaging itself as a sports-hub also? If the recent initiatives of the Naveen Patnaik-led government are any indication, perhaps yes.
"With sports given a high priority status as an industry, the Odisha government is looking to invest over Rs 350 cr in sports next year up from Rs 120 cr. The state government is looking to cement Bhubaneswar's position as the sports capital of the country," said Saurabh Uboweja, international brand expert and CEO at Brands of Desire, a management consulting firm focused on building brands.
The 14th edition of Men's Hockey World Cup, to be played from 28th November to 16th December at Kalinga Stadium, Bhubaneswar, has successfully injected a heavy dose of sport fever into the state. Additionally, top corporates like Tata Group, JSW Group, Reliance, Aditya Birla Group and some others have also signed MoUs with the Odisha government to promote development of sport in the state.
With the help of corporate houses, Odisha's sport promotion list consists of plans like setting up sports academy for hockey, football, athletics, shooting, swimming and weightlifting. The state government has also earlier this month signed a MoU with All India Football Federation. As per the MoU, the Government of Odisha will act as the host of the AIFF national team camps as well as of the home of Indian Arrows.
So, what is this new found love for sports all about?
"Sports is also a great initiative to connect with the masses. It connects the youth across gender and across socio-economic classes. Promoting sports will also allow them to promote tourism. It is amazing how Singapore had cashed on the Formula One craze, similarly be it a country or a state, sports can be used as a basis to draw attention and pull crowds," said Tuhin Mishra, MD at sports marketing firm, Baseline Ventures.