Its less than 50 days to go for FIFA U-17 World Cup to take place in India. The entire Indian football fraternity is looking forward to it as this is the first time India will be participating, as well as hosting, a FIFA tournament.
The commercial affiliates to get on board the world cup are Bank of Baroda, Hero Moto. Corp and Coal India. Earlier, The Drum spoke with head of FIFA tournaments, Jaime Yarza who said that brands can reach the youth market through sport.
To find out how Bank of Baroda (BOB) is deriving value associating with FIFA WC U17 in India, The Drum spoke with Rakesh Bhatia, general manager, marketing for BOB.
He greed with Yarza and said: "We believe that our partnership with FIFA for the Under-17 World Cup will enable us to form a direct connect with the youth of the nation. As part of our strategy to increase our customer base and the services offered by Bank of Baroda, we are aiming to increase the levels of awareness among the youngsters in the country."
"In an endeavor to achieve this, our partnership with FIFA was a great opportunity to attract this audience by engaging them with our digital platform for any FIFA-related transactions and introducing our various range of new products. We also strive to inculcate and impart the significance of financial responsibility as a consequence of financially educating the country’s youth."
— Bank of Baroda (@bankofbaroda) August 22, 2017
Since the introduction of Indian Super League (ISL), the popularity of football has increased massively. ISL teams like Mumbai City FC have roped in fan engagement platform Rooter to strengthen their reach.
As to what BOB is doing to increases fan engagement for the world cup, he said: "We are harping on this opportunity to engage with our young audience. We have held numerous activities in accordance with FIFA, which has surely assisted our efforts to attract our target audience. We are also introducing a string of products under the theme of FIFA WC U-17 which we believe will help expand our customer base to include the youth of India."
"In addition announcing new products during the course of this partnership and leading up to the games, we want to highlight our digital capabilities by showcasing our new age services to our new age customers," he further added.
BOB is promoting FIFA Local Organising Committee's (LOC) Trophy Experience where FIFA U-17 World Cup Official Winner’s Trophy will be on display nationwide. BOB is organising various events and games and giving chance to participating fans to win exciting gifts including match tickets.
Football is the second most popular sport in India and EPL enjoys a million viewers while clubs like Manchester United FC have a following of 35 million fans here. However, cricket remains the top sport in India.
Whether football is getting the commercial support it deserves, Bhatia said: "Even though the sport is played in many states across the country, the enthusiasm is still localized. Unlike the Indian Cricket Team, which has won many accolades on the global arena, the Indian Football Team has not yet made a significant mark. Hence the popularity is limited. We are definitely witnessing a change in tide and hope the country will catch up with the international trends. Sponsors will definitely follow the customers’ choice."
As to why more sponsors should get on board the FIFA U-17 World Cup, he said:
"It is not every day that such a world class event is played in our backyard. Only when sponsors come forward to support such sporting tournaments, it is possible to find and nurture new talent in the sport."
"The entertainment quotient of these events is also increasing every year attracting more and more attention and appreciation from the audience at large. Hence, we feel it is an excellent opportunity for India’s every brand – new or old, to connect with their next-gen customers worldwide," he further added.