From the Business
Standard Times (India), 26th March 2001
VISIBILITY FOR LIQUOR, TOBACCO FIRMS - What
do liquor and cigarette companies do when they are barred from sponsoring
the Indian cricket team? They go indoors, it seems.
A way out
is shown by indoor cricket, which, like its conventional counterpart,
has national and international tournaments, as well as the (indoor
cricket) World cup, all offering ample advertising opportunities.
Already, some companies have evinced interest in sponsoring the
game. These include liquor baron Vijay Mallya's UB group (to promote
its Kingfisher brand), Parle Agro (for its Frootis brand), the cola
companies and fast moving consumer goods companies, according to
G. Ramachandran, director of ABN Entertainment, promoted by film-star-turned-politician
Shatrughan Sinha. Cigarette companies are soon to follow suit he
in Australia (the Waugh brothers are patrons of the game), New Zealand,
England, South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe, indoor cricket is all
set to make its debut in India in three months. It will be introduced
by ABN Entertainment.
indoor cricket we expect to create a tehelka of the right
kind. Cricket is a passion for this country, and this indoor version
can be played by all, irrespective of caste, creed and gender",
Sinha said, tongue in cheek.
the exclusive franchisee of the game in India, plans to set up 30
centres for indoor cricket through family entertainment centres
across the country. The first three arenas will be set up in Mumbai
- at Worli, Andhini and Thale - with an investment of 12 Rs crore,
which will come from the promoters. The arenas will have 5-star
ambience, with state-of-the-art decor, food courts, a discotheque
and sports boutiques.
are expecting large revenues through gate collections as well as
corporate sponsorships," said BN Aswani, managing director
of the company. Indoor Cricket (trademarked Action Cricket) is registered
with the Indian Indoor Cricket Federation, which is recognised by
the Union sports ministry. While ABN will promote it as a leisure
activity, it will also encourage the good players through a grading
From the Bombay
Times, 30th March 2001
LOOKS ON AS CRICKET GOES INDOORS - In a country where Cricket
is more a religion than a mere sport, its relatively unknown cousin
'indoor cricket' is about to make it presence felt. Thirty arenas
(the term for indoor cricket stadiums) are being launched across
the country in three phases. In the first phase, three arenas in
Worli, Andheri, and Thane will be set up.
Cricket, as an organised sport, started in Australia in the late
1970's. From then on, it has developed into a full-fledged interantional
sport. Since 1995 countries have hosted Indoor Cricket World Cups.
We are in the process of building three arenas of 15,000 square
feet. We are promoting the sport under the brand name - Action Cricket"
said Baggi Aswani, MD, ABN Entertainment.
is played on a court, which is surrounded on all four sides - and
a ceiling - by a highly tensioned net. The actual pitch is the same
length and configuration as an outdoor cricket pitch. The floor
of the court is covered in synthetic turf. The ball used is soft-centred
so that fielders (avoid the risk of serious injury). Batsmen use
"normal" cricket bats and gloves, but no one wears pads.
Each of the
sides has eight players apiece, and wickets are claimed according
to the usual format. India has an indoor cricket team, which competed
at the last World Cup. Aswani says, The three arenas in Mumbai will
cost ABN almost 12 crore initially, but the company is not looking
for outside financiers to back the project. The courts will be open
to advertising, and we are looking at unconventional sponsors."
Keep up with
developments on ABN Action Cricket's webpage