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Published : Thursday, 23 February, 2017 05:40 PM
MICA’s annual sports festival ‘Samar’ began today. The sports Marketing Club at MICA organized a panel discussion on the 23rd of February, from 10.30 am to 12.30 Pm at the Mani Ayer Auditorium. This was arranged on the inaugural day of the annual sports festival SAMAR 2017. The topic of the panel discussion was ‘The future of India as a multi-sport nation’.
The panelists comprised Mr. V Krishnaswamy(Senior Journalist and author- 'Sachin: A Hundred Hundreds Now), Ms. Deepti Bopaiah(Executive Director at GoSports Foundation) and Mr. Gautam Chhatwal (AVP - Product & Revenue Strategy Star Sports). The discussion was moderated by Mr. Harish Krishnamachar (Sports Marketing Expert, Partner at Sportoid Sports Solutions and Adjunct Faculty, MICA) who noted that the audience would get the views of sport from the perspectives an athlete, a critic and a businessman from the different panel members. He gave a few preliminary observations about the athlete being the center of the sport and live sport being the main attraction for people.
Deepti began the discussion by noting that the reason India does not do well at the medal tally and sports generally is because there is no formal structure to take the athlete from the grassroots level to the elite level. This meant that many talented athletes dropped out dropped out between 13 to 18 years of age which was critical to the development of any sportsman of repute who goes to excel in his field later on. She concluded by saying that understanding multi-sport for her was a combination of three elements: the grass-root, the competition level where players win medals and the business side where this is monetized.
Mr. Krishnaswamy then spoke to the audience about that he had wanted to be a sports journalist from a very young age. He said that if one wanted to be in sports without being a sportsman, one could tell stories about it. He also shared a heartwarming story about an athlete called Shree Ram Singh who one day kept practicing when his coach forgot to tell him to stop. He said that it was ultimately this human connect which made sports what it was.
Mr. Chhatwal opened by saying that in his line of work, he got immense joy in facilitating the world to view the athletes success and that it was moments like those where the athlete celebrated which made all the effort worthwhile. He said that several factors were helping India to move towards being a multi-sport nation. One was that if the content was relatable and packaged well and was able to create an affinity for the team and the sport, one could sell sport and cited the success of Pro Kabbadi league as an example. He also cited a fact that they had 10 channels and could not run them on the basis of cricket only since it provided about 60 days of play. He also shared the grassroots initiatives that were taken to popularize sports since without that the viewership would not gain traction.
After taking questions from the audience, Mr Krishnamachar summarized their views for the benefit of the audience and Mr. Siddharth Deshmukh (Associate Dean-MICA) gave the vote of thanks.
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