The popularity some brands enjoy these days because of celebrities endorsing them are a clear indication of the power the latter hold in influencing the mob and creating a brand value. Many companies have in fact cashed this aspect to further their products. In a land obsessed with cricket, it is very difficult for other sports to spread their wings and hence they too need to be promoted just like any other brand.
Despite the government’s aid to many such sports, they have failed to generate a mass following. And so, the support from some celebrity enthusiasts could possibly boost the backing of many under-rated sports.
In India, which is now well networked and rapidly acing on the digital highway, not only the urban but the rural areas too are now covered by television and Internet connectivity. Such media could be employed to spread and implant the sports culture. If celebrities can be roped in to promote sport through the various social media, it is sure to make a mark. The biopics on Milkha Singh & Mary Kom or the movie Iqbal, are some of the small beginning steps.
Consider this situation: Mr. Amitabh Bachchan has over 13 million followers on twitter. Sachin Tendulkar, Shah Rukh Khan & Deepika Padukone too have a huge twitter following (over 5 million each). Apart from the high profile visibility on TV, advertisements, magazines etc., all of them love sports.
Trustworthy celebrities could thus promote the sporting culture among youngsters. For example a popular personality can be the face of a sport school. Inviting such dignitaries to sports functions at schools or direct interaction of students with them, may help to foster the culture and also encourage the budding athletes and sportspersons. Surely, there are plenty such panjandrums who would willingly take up these projects. All that is required is a concerted effort to organize and channelize this in a productive manner.
edited by Bhavna Rachuri