India's cricket captain MS Dhoni has been appointed a brand ambassador for Star Sports to promote Barclays Premier League (BPL) football in India, which will this season have a Hindi feed for the first time as well as English commentary.
Dhoni, a fan of Premier League champions Manchester United, will invite sports fans to 'Join the Game' in a new marketing campaign to coincide with the start of the league's 2013-14 season.
"Soccer is extremely exciting and very close to my heart," said MS Dhoni. "I was a goalkeeper during my school days. Even today, I play soccer as a warm-up game ahead of key cricket matches. I feel that Indian sports fans should consume different types of sports. I want them to be passionate about cricket as they are, but at the same time one needs to give healthy respect for other disciplines as well."
Over 100 live football matches will be broadcast in India by Star Sports throughout the season, as well as a six-episode build-up show called Superstar Football, setting the scene with player profiles, top clubs and famous owners.
"We are delighted to have MS Dhoni come on board as the brand ambassador for BPL in the country. We are targeting to expand the fan base of BPL in India by leveraging the iconic power and fan following of Dhoni to attract cricket fans to sample BPL – Duniya ka sabse bada league," said Vijay Rajput, chief operating officer, ESPN Software India.
As well as the English Premier League, Star Sports holds the broadcast rights in India for the Spanish La Liga, Italian Serie A, the English FA Cup and England international matches. The sports network also recently broadcast the FIFA Confederations Cup 2013 from Brazil.