With the Indian men’s hockey team scripting history by bagging the bronze medal after nearly four decades, goalkeeper PR Sreejesh has termed it as the rebirth of the sport. Talent managers and marketing experts, too, believe the Olympic medal win puts the sport on a firm footing. With both the men’s and the women’s hockey teams doing well at the Olympics, the sport and the players are expected to attract higher quantum of marketing dollars from brands in the coming days.

“India winning a bronze medal at the Olympics, 41 years after the Moscow Olympics, rightfully puts the spotlight on hockey and is definitely expected to attract sponsors and brands. A lot more money is expected to go to hockey in the coming days.

“This, together with the rise of social media, has ensured that players like PR Sreejesh get a lot of attention and his brand equity has definitely risen, and I wouldn’t be surprised if some brands swiftly rope him for endorsement deals.

“The medal will definitely establish hockey firmly as the second most popular sport behind cricket,” said Lloyd Mathias, Business Strategist and Angel Investor.

According to talent managers, some of the members of the hockey team are expected to bag individual brand endorsement deals; multiple team members could be signed up by brands to cash in on the team spirit, said brand managers. Regional brands are also expected to leverage on their popularity as local heroes across States.

‘Viewership to rise’

Neerav Tomar, MD and CEO, IOS Sports & Entertainment, said that the Olympic medal will lift the overall brand valuation of hockey as a sport.

He added that not only are players expected to get their due recognition in terms of brand endorsement deals, but the Olympic win will help increase the viewership of the sport, besides having a positive rub-off on valuation of TV rights for future hockey tournaments.

While goalkeeper Sreejesh emerged as the last-minute saviour, goals by Simranjeet Singh, Harmanpreet Singh, Hardik Singh and Rupinder Pal Singh under the able leadership of the skipper Manpreet Singh, helped seal the bronze medal victory for India on Thursday.

Shashi Sinha, CEO of IPG Mediabrands India, said that not only hockey, but India’s performance at the Olympics has helped many non-cricketing sports gain traction this year, and brands are expected to give more attention to these sports.

Meanwhile, Sandeep Goyal, Managing Director, Rediffusion, added: “There has to be consistency in terms of the wins, and hockey has to find its way back into the national narrative. If the players become easily recognisable household faces and the game gains more visibility on television, then brands will definitely warm up to the sport.”