Sunday, September 18, 2005

Sania at the expense of Humpy?

How things change! A year ago, any media coverage Sania Mirza received would have been considered a refreshing change from the overdose of all-pervasive cricket in India. Now, we can't stand it. Well, there is definitely an overkill when it comes to 'Sania-mania'. I have been watching the Beatles anthology series lately, and it is educative in terms of what really constituted 'Beatles-mania'. Simply put, it was mass hysteria - thousands of young girls almost going crazy. As I see it, there is no such mania among sports fans in India. So, besides being hyperbole, it is a cheap media attempt to sell newsprint. So what's new? A lot of people feel strongly about the hype, and certain others feel strongly about lop-sided coverage in the media (in India). I have come across a few posts lamenting the lack of sponsorship for Koneru Humpy (apparently, Bank of Baroda pulled the plug on her) and that government agencies/federations/corporations should do more to promote sportspersons. Here is my response to Kaps' post: Your point about the lop sided media coverage is taken, However, you cannot expect corporate sponsorship, in general, to be based on benevolent considerations. I don't think corporations have an obligation to sponsor one sport or the other. In any case, Chess is not even a sport, much less a spectator sport and has extremely limited appeal. If someone does come forward and does the honourable thing, it should be much appreciated, but criticizing them for not doing so would be fanciful thinking. Do keep in mind that Anand has always found sponsors coming forward - and is one of the richest Indian sportspersons. In general, I think chess is not badly covered at all in India. Try to find any chess coverage in the sports pages in other countries. Sports other than cricket will not get the coverage/sponsorship unless they perform at the highest level. They have to go an extra mile to get the attention that even a Yuvraj Singh gets. I daresay Anju George's profile would have risen infinitely had she won an olympic medal - she is still world class, but that's the one that really mattered. Sania also has an advantage in that though India was never a tennis powerhouse, the game has had a great appeal to Indians, especially in urban areas. Wimbledon has always been a well watched event, despite there being next to no Indian representation. This aspect is somewhat overlooked. I do agree though, that the AP Govt's announcement of 'prize money' for Sania is utter nonsense. That should have definitely gone to the likes of Humpy. But then what do you expect from our politicians? They can certainly sense a populist opportunity when they see one.


Blogger SAI MADHAV said...

By the way, it is Rahul Dravid who replaced Koneru Humpy as the brand ambassador of Bank of Baroda. The bank says it does not have the resources to have two, so it is better to have a cricket star. Bobby

9:15 AM  
Blogger Kaps said...

I do agree that corporates will sponsor only the sports which have huge viewer interest.

In such a situation, it is all the more important that the government supports other sportspersons who don't get much support from corporate sponsors. This could be true for squash, table tennis, chess etc.

If spectator sport is all that matters then only 5 sports will make the cut. my point is that the government and the media need to be more broadbased.

8:47 AM  
Blogger unsui said...

I sincerely feel its high time we realize there is more in sports than just cricket. Cricket these days is really not qualitatively that gr8 as upto 80's (with so many restrictions on Bowlers)
All I have to say is my response
(see in quotes) to this story

"touching & motivating .. especially the last line of the article... Anyways the able sportsperson not playing Cricket are handicapped in a way when it comes to sponsorship ,proper training and proper planning & management"

12:40 AM  

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