With just two weeks to go for the London Olympics, interest in the Games is rising with most of the television channels announcing their programming for the extravaganza which will feature 81 Indian athletes.
1ESPN Star Sports, official broadcasters from the Vancouver 2010 Games, will broadcast the Games again this year. Starting 27 July, the network will customise Olympics feed for India. The network plans live Olympics broadcast on three channels in India – ESPN, Star Sports and ESPN HD. ESPN will carry sports featuring Indian athletes, and those sports which are more popular in India such as hockey, shooting, boxing, wresting, tennis and football.Star Sports will showcase international sports including gymnastics, equestrian and volleyball. ESPN HD will broadcast a blend of the action from ESPN and Star Sports.
On the coverage for the Games, T S Panesar, vice president, affiliate sales, ESPN Software India, said, “We will have a team of dedicated reporters on ground at the Games to deliver in-depth news updates, interviews and stories. In addition to the live television broadcast of the Games, including the opening and closing ceremonies, our daily coverage will include dedicated programmes to bring the best highlights and coverage from the London 2012 Games. Overall, we have rights to broadcast 240 hours of programming every day for the duration of 15 days which makes it almost 3600 hours of programming. ”
Besides this, the channel launched a documentary series titled Living the Dream. Christy Simpson hosts the show that focuses on 24 athletes from India, Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Vietnam.
2Besides ESPN Star Sports, the news channels have their list of shows lined up for the Games. CNBC-TV18 has launched ‘The Olympian Effort’. The six-part series focuses on a distinct aspect of the Olympics in each episode. Suranjana Ghosh, marketing head – CNBC-TV18, said, “The series will offer a 360-degree perspective on London 2012 – from the dreams of sportsmen, to the ambition of global sponsors and from funding careers, to a country’s preparations to host the biggest sporting event in the world. Samsung Galaxy SIII has associated with us as the presenting sponsor, while GQ is our magazine partner. We have garnered great response from advertisers for The Olympian Effort.”
3Times Now launched its show, ‘Olympic Gold Quest’ on 7 June, 50 days before the Games are scheduled to begin. Besides this, the channel has a weekly show I Believe (eight episodes). The show will capture stories of people who they believe will be India’s top medal hopefuls as they gear up for London 2012. The on air panel will consist of Ashwini Nachappa, Viren Rasquinha, Morad Ali Khan, Gaurav Natekar, Aparna Popat and Nisha Millet at London 2012.
4History TV18 adds to the Olympic programming with its show Go for Glory, and this too has found acceptance among advertisers. Reliance Net connect, Mahindra Xylo and Nokia Lumia 800 are among sponsors of the show. The channel is also looking to engage audiences on Facebook with ’Go for Glory’.
Sangeetha Aiyer, marketing head, A+E Network I TV18, said, “The exclusive line up for Olympics has iconic sports celebs like Michael Phelps, Roger Federer and Usain Bolt. We believe that the property would find resonance with the youth because of well known sport stars like Saina Nehwal, Deepika Kumari, and Abhinav Bindra being associated with it. By its very nature it would work well on social media.”
5History TV18 is not the only channel looking to reach out through a digital presence. ESPN Star Sports has launched an app where Indian sports fans can show and share support for national athletes. Called, ‘My Country, My Cheer’, the application is hosted on www.facebook.com/espnstarsports, and enables visitors to post words of encouragement for their Olympic Games representatives.
So here’s to the Indian contingent at London; hoping that there will be more medals for - and more viewers in - India, for Olympics 2012.
Other initiatives around the Olympics:
- ESPN Star Sports brought back its ‘School Quiz’ after a seven year gap in the lead up to the Olympics.
- BBC Entertainment launched Twenty Twelve; A comedy inspired by the Olympics
- ‘Go For Glory’, a show launched on History TV18, will also be aired on CNN IBN.
- BBC World News launched a four part series on called Faster, Higher, Stronger.