Field hockey targets India to help boost income

Field hockey targets India to help boost income

Field hockey's ruling executive meets this week to study a six-year plan that aims to raise the game's profile by using its biggest fan base. "Many sports want to go to India because it's a fantastic market," Christophe Troendle, the FIH's director-general, said. "For us it's maybe easier because we are part of the culture."

The FIH hopes that targeting sponsors and staging more top events in the nation of 1.1 billion people could help triple its annual budget of 5 million Swiss francs (USD 5 million; euro3.3 million).

New revenue from India would also reduce the governing body's dependence on the International Olympic Committee, which provides 40 per cent of its income. "It's a very simple goal but very challenging," Troendle told The Associated Press in a recent interview. "We recognized that we need more money and need to be more commercial. "It's a necessity, not a luxury."

Under the proposed strategy, field hockey hotspots such as India and Netherlands would stage men's and women's World Cup and Champions Trophy more often. World Cups are held every four years and the Champions Trophy annually.

"We want to locate our top properties into our top markets," Troendle said. "Today we are totally invisible. We don't have brands we have competitions that just have a name." The FIH hopes to use the men's World Cup in New Delhi, a 12-nation event played next February 28-March 13, to relaunch hockey in India.

Two weeks ago it signed India's state-owned steel company SAIL as a tournament backer. Motorcycle manufacturer Hero Honda is the title sponsor.

The strategy calls for eight global sponsorship deals instead of the current five with Hero Honda, Dutch bank ABN-Amro, Belgium-based accountants BDO International, Korean electronics firm Samsung and Ata Holding of Azerbaijan.

The FIH also wants to build the popularity of the shorter, faster indoor version of the sport by learning from the success of Indian Premier League cricket and seven-a-side rugby, which will debut on the Olympic program at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro. The 24-member executive, chaired by FIH President Leandro Negre, will receive the proposals at its three-day meeting beginning Friday in Melbourne, Australia, during the men's Champions Trophy. "It's a long-term plan and we're only at the start of the process," Troendle said.

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