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FIFA U-17 competition will open the gates for more Indian brands to associate with football

Tournament director, LOC FIFA U-17 World in India : 'World Cup can open the gates for more Indian companies to associate with fo

The world will be watching closely as India readies to host the FIFA Under-17 (U17) World Cup for the first time this October and brands will be doing the same, according to the tournament director.

India's love for sport is growing rapidly and the corporate world is realizing the great potential the country has from grassroots to commercial activities.

To find out more about brand sponsorships and opportunities, The Drum spoke with Javier Ceppi, LOC FIFA tournament director, FIFA U-17 World Cup India.

With regards to response of corporates towards FIFA U-17 World Cup in India, he said: “There is a surge in terms of the interest of Indian corporates about associating with the sport, they have understood the amount of exposure that it will provide them and also how important it is for India to host the FIFA U-17 WC.

The decision for the current national supporters (Bank of Baroda, Hero and Coal India) has been a combination of commercial benefits with a sense of national pride, supporting something that is historical for the country, which is the turning point for the development of football in India.”

Fifa chief commercial officer Philippe Le Floc'h earlier spoke to The Drum, and said: “We shall welcome Indian brands into the Fifa Commercial Affiliates team soon.”

Sponsors are already deriving a lot of value from the association. Lot of events have been organised, such as the trophy experience, contests and quizzes and social media promotions by the sponsors.

Ceppi said, “All the national supporters have seen the value of associating not only with a particular Event, such as the FIFA U-17 World Cup, but with the development of football in India. We are also doing Mission Eleven Million, which is the legacy programme for the FIFA U-17 World Cup and whose objective is to reach out to 11 Million school kids from all around the country with football in the run up to the Tournament.

Ceppi also emphasized on how Hero and Bank of Baroda will benefit being a part of Mission Eleven Million, because it is a huge outreach programme and it is at the core of the promotion of football in the country, which is something that is very close to what they want to achieve as a brand.

The Drum also earlier spoke with Bank of Baroda, one of the national supporters for FIFA U-17 World Cup, which said that FIFA U-17 World Cup is an opportunity for Indian brands to connect with next-gen consumers.

As to how will FIFA U-17 World Cup will set a commercial benchmark for football in India, Ceppi said: “So far, it has been quite successful and we hope that this can be replicated in the future. Although we cannot talk about numbers, because all the deals are confidential, they have been in line with a very ambitious target we had set ourselves and we have proven a lot of people who questioned this target wrong.

The main value has been that national supporters have seen the sincerity in our approach, that partnering with the FIFA U-17 World Cup is a partnership not just to associate with the event, but to help the development of football in India and it is a first step into making the country into a huge global player in the sport. We hope that this can also open the gates for more Indian companies to associate with football in the future.”

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