In a candid conversation with License India, Viren Rasquinha - the former captain of India's national field hockey team and CEO of Olympic Gold Quest shared his opinion about sports licensing in India. In his words, apparels remain to be the obvious choice besides shoes and accessories. What is the scope of sports licensing in India? The industry is nascent in India but considering the way India has grown by leaps and bounds in the last few years, sports licensing will definitely prove to be a potential revenue generating opportunity. The critical points remain to be the legality of sports licensing and professionalism in the industry. Which product categories are the brands exploring for sports licensing? Who are the target audiences? Apparel remains to be the obvious choice besides shoes, and accessories like belts and caps. However, Racquets, and hockey sticks etc are also explored by various brands for licensing. The target audiences, in my opinion, are people of different age groups, who watch sports on television and are sports enthusiasts. Though sports licensing is yet to catch on in India, still do you see any common aspect between the sports licensing scenario abroad and that in India? Abroad, soccer teams like Man U, Arsenal, Liverpool, and Chelsea in the EPL (English Premier League); and NBA (National Basket-Ball Association) and American Baseball teams are very strict about licensed products being sold through official channels. As the IPL develops, I see even the IPL teams looking at strengthening their licensing protection as merchandising becomes a huge business opportunity. Also, the popular sports brands like Nike, Adidas and Reebok are common among the West and India and have strong licensing protection because the brand names and logos are universally recognised. Licensing is a new concept in India. How should it be promoted to bring about awareness in the country? Licensing should be promoted the way we promote sports. Sports get promoted when success stories are shared. Success stories motivate people to take up sports, similarly if the success stories regarding sports licensing are shared and published people will get inspired to consider this tremendous business opportunity. Second way to promote licensing is to include the concept in the education system. Popular sports personalities like badminton sensation Saina Nehwal and boxing champion MC Mary Kom are associated with your organisation. Do you have plans to leverage the benefits of personality licensing to promote these stars? Well, it is a good thought. We will certainly consider this in the future but as of now we are solely focusing on their game.
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