MUMBAI, 30th October 2015: Stakeholders in the growing Indian sports industry unanimously agree that the appetite for football in India is definitely on the rise though there are numerous challenges which have to be overcome before its full potential can be realised.
Senior professionals from the sports and broadcast industry deliberated on the multiple opportunities in the football sector at the Star Sports Indian Football Forum 2015 titled: “Taking Indian Football Higher, Deeper, Wider”, held in Mumbai on 29 October 2015.
The day-long conference revolved around various Knowledge Sessions such as:
- Governance & Management– Faster Growth, Higher Visibility, Stronger Management
- Maximising Fan Experience– Getting It Right on Air and In Stadia
- Internet & Mobile Keys To Experiential Nirvana– Connecting To the Consumer in a Fast Evolving Media Landscape
- Corporate Social Opportunity– The Business Potential in Grassroots Outreach
Established in 2010, the India Football Forum, the flagship property of the SportzPower Knowledge Series (SKS), brings together some of the best minds in the industry on one platform for what is the definitive conference on the business of football in this market. Additionally, to improve the overall presentation and profile of the conference, SportzPower has partnered Mumbai-based Event Capital to deliver this edition
A stellar grouping of industry stalwarts such as Nitin Kukreja, President Sports, STAR India; Ronnie Screwvala, Founder, U Sports; Peter Leible, Chief Representative Asia Pacific DFL Sports Enterprises; and Santosh Desai, MD & CEO, Future Brands, spoke on the various factors that indicate the rapid strides made by football, and the initiatives required to take it to the next level.
In his keynote address, Mr Nitin Kukreja, President Sports, STAR India, said that while merging I-League and ISL would solve much of the logistical chaos currently reigning in the Indian football calendar, no concrete progress has been made towards that. He also stressed on the need for schools and colleges to participate in the sport in a structured manner in order to allow a footballing culture to develop on a larger scale, especially in North and West India where the sport does not have much popularity.
Mr Peter Leible, Chief Representative Asia Pacific of DSL Sports Enterprises, who drew a parallel to the recent period of revival in German football to provide context to the Indian experience, said a similar widespread initiative, with emphasis on clubs doing their bit on the grassroots and academy side of things, could lead to a uniform growth of football in India though “patience” is the key criteria while implementing such programmes.
U Sports founder Ronnie Screwvala, in conversation with Conference Chair, Ayaz Memon, said that with ISL, the changes are positive in Indian football, but there needs to be an effort to develop the game at the grassroots level to actually help improve the standards of Indian football.
Adding heft to the knowledge delivery at this year’s IFF were two cutting edge case study presentations by ESP Properties and Repucom International.
Other experts who shared their views during interactions in the multiple Knowledge Sessions included:
- Supratik Sen, CEO and Co-Founder, U Sports
- Vinit Karnik, National Director – Entertainment, Sports &Live Events, ESP Properties
- Gaurav Gokhale, Business Head, Football at Star India
- Srinivasan Gopalkrishnan, AVP Marketing & Commercial – Football Sports Development Limited (ISL)
- Joy Bhattacharyja – Project Director, 2017 U-17 World Cup
- Indranil Das Blah, CEO, Mumbai City FC & COO, CAA Kwan
- Ravi Chavan, Vice-President – South Asia, Repucom International
- Mustafa Ghouse, CEO, JSW Sports Pvt Ltd.
- Neetu Bhatia, Co-Founder & CEO, Kyazoonga
- Nikhil Sharma, COO, Anglian Management Group; Director, ShillongLajong FC
- Neel Shah, Business Director, Libero Sports India
- Arun Raghu, Co-Founder and Director, Fans On Stands Sports Pvt Ltd
- Nimish Raut, Country Head, Sports & Events Marketing, Red Bull India
- Jitendra Joshi – Co-founder, Director, SportzConsult
- Jaideep Bhatia – Partnerships Consultant, Magic Bus
- Siddhartha Upadhyay – Founder and Secretary General, STAIRS
- LV Krishnan – CEO, TAM Media Research
- Pranesh Krishnamurthy – CEO, The Football Mind
- Aneesh S Madani – Head Sports Partnerships, Twitter India
India Football Forum 2015 provided a broader perspective and key insights into the opportunities available and challenges that await in what is the most exciting sports and media market in the world at present.