2017 U17 World Cup

Have you seen any billboard or ad about the Fifa U17 World Cup? If not, here’s why

It’s now less than a month to go before the first ever Fifa tournament hosted by India but is it being marketed?

The 2017 Fifa Under-17 World Cup kicks off in India on October 6. The first ever Fifa tournament to be hosted by India will see matches being played across six venues in New Delhi, Navi Mumbai, Kolkata, Goa, Kochi and Guwahati. However, with just over three weeks left for the tournament to begin, the lack of any billboards or media advertisements about the tournament has left some sports marketing experts baffled.

“I have not seen a single billboard in Mumbai,” said a sports marketing professional who requested anonymity since he wasn’t authorized to speak with the media. “Stories related to the World Cup are being published in the media but there is nothing in terms of advertising.”

The Field reached out to people in the other five host cities as well and no one had seen a single billboard or ad about the World Cup in their city.

“For something like the Fifa U17 World Cup, with less than a month to go, I don’t see it marketed adequately in India despite it being a huge opportunity,” said the professional quoted above. “Apart from the official broadcaster Sony, which is running a countdown to the tournament on its channels, nobody else is taking actively to it.”

When it comes to events as big as a Fifa World Cup, experts said light marketing begins at least six months prior to the tournament and then the heavy bits in the three months leading up to the event. However, this is an Under-17 World Cup, which isn’t as important for sponsors and for the global community as it is for India, according to marketing experts.

“Traditionally, Under-17 World Cups don’t have the budgets to do too much marketing,” said Joy Bhattacharjya, project director at the Local Organising Committee of India 2017. Bhattacharjya refused to divulge the marketing budget for the tournament, but said that the organising committee had been doing a lot of on-ground activities to generate a buzz, rather than buying advertisements.

The rise of on-ground marketing

The organising committee is focusing on hosting tournament-related activities on ground, which get what is called earned media coverage as opposed to the paid variety. “We spend our budget mostly on [organising] events, on earned media, digital and radio [marketing] closer to the tournament,” he said.

“For example, we had the launch of the emblem, the Mission 11 Million programme, the official mascot, the anthem. We had [former Spain captain Carles] Puyol come and launch the sale of tickets. We are focusing on radio right now. We’ve worked out a campaign with Radio Mirchi that focuses on the six host cities. That’s where the main money is spent.”

The organising committee is focusing on hosting tournament-related activities on ground (Image: IANS)
The organising committee is focusing on hosting tournament-related activities on ground (Image: IANS)

On-ground promotion, as opposed to media spend, has been on the rise, according to Rajesh Kumar, a sports marketing consultant. “Until a few years ago, there was only TV and print promotion. However, that is changing. For a tournament like the U17 World Cup, your target audience is the youth. If you organise on-ground marketing activities at, say, schools and colleges, the reach is far more and far sharper than having print ads.”

On-ground marketing also works out to be cheaper than media spend. A single billboard advertisement in Mumbai costs anywhere between Rs 30,000 to Rs 14 lakh per month, depending on the size and location, according to media buying platform The Media Ant. A full front-page ad in the Times of India, the country’s most circulated English daily, can cost anywhere between a few lakhs to Rs 1.5 crore depending on the city.

“On the other hand, if you do an on-ground activation programme at a college, you can get it done in, say, Rs 50,000 to Rs 60,000,” said Kumar. “So you can cover multiple colleges in the same budget [as it takes for a media ad]. You can organise tournaments, get celebrities to attend events, boost engagement with fans. The reach will be far more focused.”

Bhattacharjya also said that putting up billboards was the responsibility of the host cities and assured that it would be done in the next two-to-three weeks. “No [media] campaign in India starts 15 days before the tournament begins. We just don’t have the budgets, especially considering it is festival time [when prices of advertisements shoot up]. It is purely a matter of sustainability more than anything else.”

Money spent wisely?

Most sports marketing experts The Field spoke to bought Bhattacharjya’s claim that the organising committee does not have a huge marketing budget. While Fifa earmarked $18 million, or Rs 115 crore, for the U17 World Cup, most of the money has gone into development of infrastructure. But whatever little budget was available for marketing, has it been spent wisely?

“I would have liked to see a bit more spend on digital marketing,” said another industry expert who requested anonymity. “I agree it doesn’t make sense to spend too much on billboards and media ads but I haven’t seen any marketing campaigns online as well. The target audience for this tournament is kids from 10-12 years of age to young adults, so digital is the best way to reach them. The organising committee is not doing enough on this front. Everything has been offline and I’m not sure that’s the right strategy.”

While the onus is largely on the organising committee, sponsors are also responsible for marketing a tournament and there has hardly been any action on this front as well. Apart from Fifa’s official global partners such as Coca Cola and Visa, the U17 World Cup has three local sponsors in Bank of Baroda, Hero Motocorp and Coal India.

The three companies have been supporting and promoting the organising committee’s on-ground activities but there hasn’t been any evidence of any other initiatives apart from this. The Field reached out to Bank of Baroda and Hero Motocorp for a comment but did not get a response before this story was published.

The organising committee is not worried about support from its national supporters because Fifa has global partners from where sponsorship money will come in, said the sports marketing professional quoted earlier. “They just want to do proper on-ground activation, not overshoot their budget, conduct the tournament smoothly and get some people to say it was a job well done. That’s all that matters.”

We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Behind the garb of wealth and success, white collar criminals are hiding in plain sight

Understanding the forces that motivate leaders to become fraudsters.

Most con artists are very easy to like; the ones that belong to the corporate society, even more so. The Jordan Belforts of the world are confident, sharp and can smooth-talk their way into convincing people to bend at their will. For years, Harshad Mehta, a practiced con-artist, employed all-of-the-above to earn the sobriquet “big bull” on Dalaal Street. In 1992, the stockbroker used the pump and dump technique, explained later, to falsely inflate the Sensex from 1,194 points to 4,467. It was only after the scam that journalist Sucheta Dalal, acting on a tip-off, broke the story exposing how he fraudulently dipped into the banking system to finance a boom that manipulated the stock market.


In her book ‘The confidence game’, Maria Konnikova observes that con artists are expert storytellers - “When a story is plausible, we often assume it’s true.” Harshad Mehta’s story was an endearing rags-to-riches tale in which an insurance agent turned stockbroker flourished based on his skill and knowledge of the market. For years, he gave hope to marketmen that they too could one day live in a 15,000 sq.ft. posh apartment with a swimming pool in upmarket Worli.

One such marketman was Ketan Parekh who took over Dalaal Street after the arrest of Harshad Mehta. Ketan Parekh kept a low profile and broke character only to celebrate milestones such as reaching Rs. 100 crore in net worth, for which he threw a lavish bash with a star-studded guest-list to show off his wealth and connections. Ketan Parekh, a trainee in Harshad Mehta’s company, used the same infamous pump-and-dump scheme to make his riches. In that, he first used false bank documents to buy high stakes in shares that would inflate the stock prices of certain companies. The rise in stock prices lured in other institutional investors, further increasing the price of the stock. Once the price was high, Ketan dumped these stocks making huge profits and causing the stock market to take a tumble since it was propped up on misleading share prices. Ketan Parekh was later implicated in the 2001 securities scam and is serving a 14-years SEBI ban. The tactics employed by Harshad Mehta and Ketan Parekh were similar, in that they found a loophole in the system and took advantage of it to accumulate an obscene amount of wealth.


Call it greed, addiction or smarts, the 1992 and 2001 Securities Scams, for the first time, revealed the magnitude of white collar crimes in India. To fill the gaps exposed through these scams, the Securities Laws Act 1995 widened SEBI’s jurisdiction and allowed it to regulate depositories, FIIs, venture capital funds and credit-rating agencies. SEBI further received greater autonomy to penalise capital market violations with a fine of Rs 10 lakhs.

Despite an empowered regulatory body, the next white-collar crime struck India’s capital market with a massive blow. In a confession letter, Ramalinga Raju, ex-chairman of Satyam Computers convicted of criminal conspiracy and financial fraud, disclosed that Satyam’s balance sheets were cooked up to show an excess of revenues amounting to Rs. 7,000 crore. This accounting fraud allowed the chairman to keep the share prices of the company high. The deception, once revealed to unsuspecting board members and shareholders, made the company’s stock prices crash, with the investors losing as much as Rs. 14,000 crores. The crash of India’s fourth largest software services company is often likened to the bankruptcy of Enron - both companies achieved dizzying heights but collapsed to the ground taking their shareholders with them. Ramalinga Raju wrote in his letter “it was like riding a tiger, not knowing how to get off without being eaten”, implying that even after the realisation of consequences of the crime, it was impossible for him to rectify it.

It is theorised that white-collar crimes like these are highly rationalised. The motivation for the crime can be linked to the strain theory developed by Robert K Merton who stated that society puts pressure on individuals to achieve socially accepted goals (the importance of money, social status etc.). Not having the means to achieve those goals leads individuals to commit crimes.

Take the case of the executive who spent nine years in McKinsey as managing director and thereafter on the corporate and non-profit boards of Goldman Sachs, Procter & Gamble, American Airlines, and Harvard Business School. Rajat Gupta was a figure of success. Furthermore, his commitment to philanthropy added an additional layer of credibility to his image. He created the American India Foundation which brought in millions of dollars in philanthropic contributions from NRIs to development programs across the country. Rajat Gupta’s descent started during the investigation on Raj Rajaratnam, a Sri-Lankan hedge fund manager accused of insider trading. Convicted for leaking confidential information about Warren Buffet’s sizeable investment plans for Goldman Sachs to Raj Rajaratnam, Rajat Gupta was found guilty of conspiracy and three counts of securities fraud. Safe to say, Mr. Gupta’s philanthropic work did not sway the jury.


The people discussed above have one thing in common - each one of them was well respected and celebrated for their industry prowess and social standing, but got sucked down a path of non-violent crime. The question remains - Why are individuals at successful positions willing to risk it all? The book Why They Do It: Inside the mind of the White-Collar Criminal based on a research by Eugene Soltes reveals a startling insight. Soltes spoke to fifty white collar criminals to understand their motivations behind the crimes. Like most of us, Soltes expected the workings of a calculated and greedy mind behind the crimes, something that could separate them from regular people. However, the results were surprisingly unnerving. According to the research, most of the executives who committed crimes made decisions the way we all do–on the basis of their intuitions and gut feelings. They often didn’t realise the consequences of their action and got caught in the flow of making more money.


The arena of white collar crimes is full of commanding players with large and complex personalities. Billions, starring Damien Lewis and Paul Giamatti, captures the undercurrents of Wall Street and delivers a high-octane ‘ruthless attorney vs wealthy kingpin’ drama. The show looks at the fine line between success and fraud in the stock market. Bobby Axelrod, the hedge fund kingpin, skilfully walks on this fine line like a tightrope walker, making it difficult for Chuck Rhoades, a US attorney, to build a case against him.

If financial drama is your thing, then block your weekend for Billions. You can catch it on Hotstar Premium, a platform that offers a wide collection of popular and Emmy-winning shows such as Game of Thrones, Modern Family and This Is Us, in addition to live sports coverage, and movies. To subscribe, click here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Hotstar and not by the Scroll editorial team.