India Trip – 28.4.09

Week 27th April, India trip round up

Just got back from a great week in India. Spend time in both of our offices. Delhi had the hottest day in 50 years (43.5 degree) and Mumbai was the usual hot and humid (and crowded).

IPL is as omnipresent as ever, even though the matches are played in South Africa. Everyone is glued to the TV, talks about it and the papers are filling pages after pages. It’s incredible to see how this new league has taken the public by storm. Great for the sports and for companies like us. Lots of interesting opportunities around it.

Our focus in India at the moment is in several areas. On the licensing & sponsorship front we are cutting deals with major European football clubs. Several brand new initiatives will be launched very soon which have never happened before in this form in India. Don’t want to spoil the surprise, so stay tuned.

Football has always been a core sport for us and it was quite natural to tie up with the leading club in the country, Churchill Brothers in Goa. We are working on sponsorship initiatives and several other areas. 

On the sponsorship front we are also working closely with the Delhi Fashion Week, the premier fashion show in Delhi. The last two seasons were very successful and we are working closely with the organizer to make the event even bigger. Fashion is a sure winner in India.

In a different part of the country we are working with the Nehru Boat Race, an amazing cultural event in Kerala, which has 150,000 people on the river banks each year. Talking to several leading Indian firms which are targeting this part of the country.

The Commonwealth Games 2010 in Delhi are also high on our radar and we had another round of positive meetings with the local organizing committee including the Chairman, Mr. Kalmadi. Due to the current election the speed has slowed a bit but hopefully it will pick up again at the end of May. We have partnered with Rushmanns to deliver a variety of special event services.

Had a round of very interesting meetings with several property developers, who are looking at getting into sports, including motorsports, ie. building a race track, etc. Still early days, but clearly the country has people and companies with big ideas and in some cases the cash to back it up. It also shows that the confidence in the economy is coming back and big plans are coming out of the drawer again. We are looking at certain consulting work for these groups and will bring some selected partners in as well. Similar discussions are going on in the golf course design area.

Also managed to catch up with my YPO (Young President Organization) Forum buddy. YPO is a great organization and tool to network and get into the real fabric of a market place.  Doesn’t hurt that you have high profile members like Mukesh Ambani as members. Already lined up a dinner with several top CEOs in the country for the next trip.  

India always amazes me and you learn something new every time. I’m very proud of our current team in India, great bunch of guys who’s skills compliment each other well. Key is to stay focused on our core sports and services.

Had several interviews with leading online magazines as well (Sportzpower and exchange 4 media), should be interesting to see what comes out of this.

Looking forward to a long Labor Day weekend to recover a bit and then off to Singapore and China next week. Cheers

Marcus Luer; Group CEO


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