Nimbus upbeat about WSH after India`s Olympics qualification

New Delhi: Nimbus Sports is looking to cash in on the euphoria after India`s qualification for the London Olympics for the upcoming controversial World Series Hockey and has roped in sponsors, including Bridgestone and Airtel.

"We have also already signed on four official sponsors and will be announcing their names in the next couple of days," Nimbus Sport Chief Operating Officer Yannick Colaco said.

Nimbus has already roped in tyre maker Bridgestone as the title sponsor of WSH. Sounding bullish about the success of the tournament, he said: "If there was any question about the passion and following for our national sport, the nationwide euphoria after yesterday`s performance has answered it."

According to sources, India`s leading telecom operator Airtel is the broadcast sponsor for the league to be played between eight teams from February 29 to April 2, 2012.

The matches will be beamed live on Neo Sports and Neo Cricket in Hindi and English.

When contacted Airtel spokesperson said: "We cannot comment on market speculation."

The series promoted by the broadcaster along with Indian Hockey Federation (IHF), however, is not a sanctioned event.

International Hockey Federation (FIH) has not recognized the event as it is backed by rebel IHF and not by Hockey India-- the association recognised as the game`s governing body in India.

FIH had even threatened to ban players taking part in WSH from international events, including the Olympics.

The Delhi High Court had however ruled that players maybe allowed to take part in WSH if its schedule did not clash with international commitments of the national team.

It is, however, unclear whether all the players who represented India in the Olympic qualifiers will be taking part in the WSH.

Nimbus, however, is going ahead despite the threats and around two hundred players from India and across the world will play 59 matches for a prize money of USD 2 million.

Ticket sales for the event have already kicked off. Commenting on the ticket pricing strategy Colaco said: "It has been set to ensure that the WSH is accessible to all.

Most tickets are priced at the Rs 50 and Rs 100 mark." Other revenue sources for the property include, on ground sponsorship, advertising on air, licensing revenue, team shirt sponsors and other association opportunities with team, he said without disclosing financial targets.

The tournament has also roped in celebrities from Bollywood, including actors Saif Ali Khan and Neha Dhupia and singers Mika and Harshdeep Kaur. Suniel Shetty is already campaigning for WSH as the brand ambassador.


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