February 02, 2005

jordan says Hi!

A long wait is on its way to an end. A huge sigh of relief awaits. If this fella's sponsors are able to provide the necessary financial backing and close the deal, Local hero Narain will well become the first Indian ever to ride on the prestigious F1 tyres. This will definitely be one of the most significant events of Indian sport.

Hoping to catch him in action as the lead driver for F1 Jordan at this year's racing season starting March 4 at Foster's Grand Prix Melbourne.

Thanks Bharat Petroleum, Thanks Tata Motors.

I wonder why Indian IT companies are not that averse to sponsoring sports persons. Imagine a Infosys brandname on Narain's car at the F1 Grand Prix. Imagine the world of good it would do to the brand. Hey IT companies its upto you to decide whether you want to spread your brandname. If the IT companies come forward soon we can start hosting major sports events say something like Shanghai GrandPrix hosted by China. We have great talents in chess. Just pool in the money and see the results. Remember if things go fine Koneru Humpy will be the World Champion in Women's chess in a few years from now. Currently she is World No.3. Can you believe it?

Update-1 (Feb 3)

Lot of endorsement offers pouring in - Business Standard

Maestro switches to Yellow from Red

Motorsport Scene - BBC reports

Harsha's view

Update-2 (Feb 4)

A different perspective - Simon Barnes in The Australian

The Racers


phoe6 said...

Wonderful information about State of affairs of Indian Sports.
Few points, which I have collected:
- The ROI which it can generate and the profits it can give could be questionable.
- If it needs to be taken on Humanitarian grounds, I agree but the organisers seem to demand too much money..
like Big Blue himself backed away frm the China Olympics it seems..

Kannappan said...

Humanitarian grounds??

Ha haa. My first thought on this is a Big NO.
My view is like

"Professional sports people seeking professional assistance. Help if you want to."

Kannappan said...


I agree to your concerns to a certain extent. Yeah its not good to throw the money just like that. But what I am trying to argue is from the point of view of one of determined sportsperson and not from the view of a corporate person.

Here are some facts to support my view
1. Did you know that Narain did not compete in F1 in 2003 just because he dint have enough money or some bureaucratic delays.


2. IBM is the Technology sponsor for all the four Tennis Grand Slams.

Sunday we will be having a Womens WTA tour event in Hyderabad where Navratilova will be present. My suggestion is Let the IT companies come out of their apathy towards sport. Say something like Satyam computers in Hyderabad providing some Information room to facilitate players and journalists. I dont think this will take away more money. The event will last for a week at the maximum.

My concern is I dont want one of top tennis officials from WTA or even say Navratilova or say some top representative from Reuters wanting to check or send some important info quickly on the internet and due to some network or dialup problems or wahtever... they being taken to a browsing centre. God save!
I dont know what is the kind of facility provided there. But you never know...... :-) All too familiar aint we ??? ha!

3. The ROI factor depends. It depends on who invests, where you invest and whom you invest and how you make use of it. Also the returns may not be immmediate and may not show direct financial result. A lot of indirect benefits will surely be there.

Take the case of F1. As we know, a lot of techn ology go behind the scenes in F1. A lot of information needs to be managed. Its an industry. Say for example some IT company gets to sponsor Narain. Its definitely risky. But it depends. It depends on the company that invests. You cannot expect say some company like SSI or say Ramco Systems to derive maximum advantage. because they are not well established. On the other hand take some company say Infosys. The brand is already well known. So if they get to sponsor, note this point, it will straight away build a heavy brand in Europe. Racing is very prevalent in Europe. Also note Narain is driving for Jordan which if am right has its HQ in U.K. So people & corporates in UK get one more chance to know about the brand. This is the brand factor.

Consider the business factor. You can slowly show your IT consulting worth and the low cost worth. And please never undermine the low cost factor. I felt saying this to many people when speaking of offshoring. Thoough you or many others might have a different perspective. My perspective is like, " Say in a normal day. You want to have some good Idlies. Where will you want to go? To the small mess that gives you good hot idlies at 2 ruppees or that big star hotel that gives you an unsatisfying breakfast for 50 Ruppees. High Cost doesnt always mean high quality. "

Ok back to topic, the company through its relationship to one of the F1 drivers can start getting in. Recently a Ferrari project was bagged by an IT company. My guess is that F1 depends a lot on technology. So they will surely be needing a lot of help from the IT services companies. And things will only get better as F1 will always be moving ahead with the latest technology. So the company that can take the lead into expanding into this business will surely benefit provided it comes off the risk without much issues. Surely you got to be a lot more pragmatic when dealing with high money business.

4. My concern was not to support somebody who is mediocre. But just that Please support the genuine sportsperson who has tremendous potential. Just to make sure that he doesnt fall into mediocrity just because of lack of resources. On most of the occassions you can never question the commmitment of somebody like P.T.Usha. Why then let them down. Why dont you be of little assistance to them, a little support to them. Its a matter of Corporate and Social responsibility as opposed to charity.

5. This point is a bit different and maybe a bit unrelated. Chennai can start thinking of conducting the F1 race. I dont know if it will lead to financial troubles or will it increase the financial coffers??

But if handled deftly, Chennai can surely emerge as the Automobiles Hub and may be takeover some of the top Automobile destinations. Amma, Can you hear me ?

Advantages :
1. Chennai has a lot of land as compared to other cities
2. Chennai is the Automobile city of India. Ford, Hyundai have their plants here. F1 will surely bring in a lot of other car makers in here. It will help the IT services companies also to meet teh corporates managing the F1 teams. Say something like NBA generates a lot of revenues to the teams managing it.

3. We have MRF who have been in the Asian racing circuit for a long time now. There is TVS as well. Surely its going to be a great moneyspinner for all these industries. We can expect a lot many new industries to come up. International Airport will have to be revamoped to a complete worldclass level.

This is how we are going to grow. No point in just being like that. The risk has to be taken. Or else we will be missing this opportunity as well.

I dont know what all disadvantages this will cause. Surely there will be a lot of disadvantages. A lot of analysis has to be done to identify ways to reduce the disadvantages and ways to improve the benefits. My point on this matter is take the risk. Work tough to see to it that it clicks.

The opportnity is definitely there. F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone is looking at India for quite sometime now. We have a lot of people tuning in. ESPN has already given a great thumbsup to covering the entire F1 this season. People are also very willing to watch the games. And see here is a hidden advantage. It will plant the seeds of geting into F1 into the minds of some talented youngsters. This hidden factor is always there. Bernie is trying to cash in on the huge audience in India. So if one city shows a very willing hand and the resources to back it , a race will surely be awarded to India. No doubt about it. But as I said before how you handle it matters a lot. Chandrababu Naidu as we read in the papers wasted a lot of money during AfroAsian Games. In the hindsight it looks like he might have commmitted a blunder. Yeah got to be careful. Yeah got to take care of all people. The other day I was reading of how Bangalore's or rather Karnataka's farmers were sidelined or marginalised by the growth of IT. A balanced view should always be taken. Here is where a ruler or a government can show its really good. It will definitely be a very good challenge to take. And if its executed properly, a lot of benefits will be on its way.

Well lets hope for the best and see what happens.

Your concerns are indeed correct. Helps in taking a evenheaded view.

phoe6 said...

Had read your rather detailed reply, but failed to comment.
I wanted to convey one thing but, my first comment was based on my lookup at internal questions to M and K, wherein lot of folks had asked why don't your advertise in these events and why did you choose only Iron Man Live. Lance Armstrong is highly respected guy here.
The response was the organisers of Iron man live were customers and there was business as well.

So, companies ( as your blog also conveys) usually look at business plus the other things there.