Posts Tagged olympics

Identifying right format critical for success of World Series Hockey

The success of sport in the modern context is majorly dependent on one factor; it’s friendliness as a television property.  The sporting disciplines that have survived and prospered in the modern entertainment world are the ones that have modified and tweaked themselves to the need of the contemporary television audience.  The tweaking could be in many ways such as, scoring systems (as seen in badminton, Table tennis, Volleyball), format of the game (Rugby codes, Cricket formats) et al.

Sports federations’ needs to understand in which category of sport its sporting discipline operates in! Whether it belongs to the ‘mass sport’ category or if it is a niche sport?  Niche sports are soaked in tradition and have a small but fiercely loyal fan base- e.g. Golf, Wimbledon (tennis) and Test Cricket.  In such sporting disciplines or tournaments the aim is to maintain the traditions, any aberration to it will result in antagonizing the consumers of the sport.  On other hand are mass products to be successful have to always look for sizable numbers. All their viewers (actual & potential) can be categorized into heavy users (loyal fanatic), medium users (high level of interest), Light users (sporadically follow the game) and Media users (not necessarily exclusive users & majority of them follow other sources of media entertainment, along with sport).

The numbers usually come from the light users and the media users and as defined above, they are not necessarily loyal and have to be coaxed from other sources of entertainment. There is no doubt that hockey belongs to the ‘mass sport’ category and will have to compete with other sporting disciplines and other entertainment avenues, to garner their share of spectators & viewers.


Hockey In its Present avatar – it is very important to understand that a majority section of the consumers (growing up in the 1990s and 2000s), have never played the game and have followed it sporadically. This differentiates the prospective WSH consumer from say an IPL or ICL consumer. The first set of consumers will be the ones following European football & other ball sports; in turn will invariably draw comparisons between our national game and the globally known beautiful game.  Hockey is a sport that is faster, especially the astro turf version, as compared to Football. This makes it sometimes slightly difficult to pick the ball and action on television. Also a smaller playing surface makes eleven players per side, look a congested sport. So  what is the solution?


WSH should adopt the RIC Charlesworth shorter hockey format-Every Hockey fan across the globe knows Ric Charlesworth.  For the uninitiated Charlesworth is a former great hockey player, a world champion both as a coach and player. One of the sharpest brains in the game of hockey: Charlesworth has developed a format where the number of players will be reduced to eight or seven, relax the ‘carried foul’ rule – which technically will make the game more attacking, faster & free flowing.  The first tournament with this format will be held in Australia in October, exactly two months before the proposed start of the first edition of the WSH. It is imperative for the promoters & organizers of WSH to inspect and adopt this format for its league.  Imagine if IPL was played in the ODI format or the tests format! Would it have met with the same success? Your answer determines the importance for WSH in tweaking field hockey from its present avatar to make it a successful mass-sport & television friendly product.


Leave a Comment