The International hockey federation has set a target to generate $150 million (Rs 975crore) from the Hockey Pro League over a period of four years.
The ambitious project of FIH will feature nine teams each in the men’s and women’s section. The teams play on home and away basis over a period of six months. The league is set to role from January next year.
According to FIH CEO Jason McCracken, with the best nine teams in both men and women’s categories in fray, it will surely catch the fancy of fans around the globe, according to a Hindustan Times report. “There is robust marketing strategy in place to achieve the target. We have Star Sports as broadcasting partners in India. The FIH is working to have broadcasters on board from other nations that are competing in the League,” Hindustan Times has quoted McCracken as saying from Lausanne, Switzerland.
India features in both men’s and women’s sections. The women’s event will be contested between Argentina, Australia, China, England/Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand and USA.
The men’s teams were confirmed as Argentina, Australia, Belgium, England/Great Britain, Germany, India, Netherlands, New Zealand and Pakistan.
USA doesn’t have a team in the men’s competition, whereas Pakistan will not feature in the women’s league.
After four years, the FIH will evaluate the pros and cons of the league. “Right now we believe it will change the face of world hockey,” McCracken added.
Besides revenue generation, the FIH official said the pro league will make the Olympic discipline more popular. “Fans will be able to watch all 144 matches played in the league live,” he said.
Rescheduling of Domestic Leagues
As the pro-league is slotted between January and June, the participating nations will be required to reschedule their domestic competitions like the cash-rich Hockey India League.
Pak home ties in Scotland
Due to security reasons, FIH has scheduled Pakistan’s home venue as Scotland. “I am sure the Pakistan federation will grab the opportunity and raise funds for smooth passage for its national team,” said FIH CEO. However, as the FIH will not give any funds to participating nations, it might be hard for nations like Pakistan to compete.
Indo-Pak ties issue
Hockey India is yet to decide on the home venue. It’s also uncertain whether India will change their home venue when they have to play Pakistan as the government has strongly objected to sporting ties between the two nations.
The FIH, however, is optimistic. “Governments of both the nations will have to work out a solution,” added McCracken.