Wrestling in India set for a makeover

News Source: Dainik Tribune

Days of organising the national championships under makeshift tents or boarding wrestlers in schools or dharamsalas will be a thing of past in the Indian wrestling. TATA Motors has joined hands with Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) to become the main title sponsor of the team. The official announcement in this regard is scheduled to be made on August 1. The three-year deal makes TATA Motors the principal sponsors of the Indian wrestling team — the company will be sponsors for all domestic events in India and any international event that will be held in the country.The multi-crore deal, if all goes according to plan, will be one of the biggest title sponsorship deals for non-cricketing sport in India.As of now, VIVO’s Rs 300 crore deal as the title sponsor of Pro-Kabaddi League is the biggest deal for a non-cricketing discipline. Hero too has a significant contract with the All India Football Federation. The sports body also pockets around Rs 60 crore every year through the IMG-Reliance partnership.

TV deal soon

Other than the block buster deal that paints a happy picture of the future of wrestling in India, there are plans to bring the sport to the living room of an average Indian.So far the only wrestling broadcast in India happens for a month — sometime in December-January when the Pro-Wrestling League is held. Sporty Solutionz as WFI’s commercial partner has plans to broadcast the other championships too. “We are taking wrestling to the broadcasters too. Till now, there was no broadcast of the sport on satellite TV. Yes, there was PWL, but Other than that no other wrestling property has been exposed to the Indian satellite television, the mainstream sports channels,” chief executive of Sporty Solutionz Ashish Chadda told The Tribune.“It will entail plans for 60-70 days of live broadcast package for the Indian audience,” he added.The broadcast deal, however, will force WFI and its commercial partner to organise all the national championships in proper stadia.Sporty Solutionz has also signed a deal with the United World Wrestling for the rights to broadcast the sport in the Indian Subcontinent.It is a win-win situation for the Indian wrestling. “As commercial partners of WFI, we have found out that the interest level for wrestling in India is surprisingly very high. Because of this the brands are interested to join hands,” Chadda added.There are a couple of more deals in the offing in coming months. The company is in talks with at least two suppliers to become team’s official kit sponsors.