SPORT­ING ROLE

The Brand Reporter - - MARKETING -

Ro­hin­ton Soli Screw­vala or ‘Ron­nie’ Screw­vala, as he is pop­u­larly known, has big plans in the off­ing. The me­dia and en­ter­tain­ment en­tre­pre­neur is bet­ting big on e-sports. The head of Unilazer Ven­tures has quite a few sport­ing aces up his sleeve.

Unilazer’s sports mar­ket­ing divi­sion US­ports, be­sides gear­ing it­self to launch Cypher the e-sports league in Novem­ber, also owns the kabaddi fran­chise UMumba, pro­motes foot­ball and mo­tor­sports. There are plans to launch a movie on kabaddi, which Screw­vala be­lieves will take the sport to a dif­fer­ent level and also help UMumba emerge as a brand.

US­ports – un­der the UDream Foot­ball ban­ner - also scouts for foot­ball play­ers from across the coun­try and trains them in Ger­many. At the moment there are 50 un­der-15 play­ers train­ing and play­ing shoul­der to shoul­der with Euro­pean and South Amer­i­can play­ers. Screw­vala wants to take that num­ber up to 250 and the or­gan­i­sa­tion is work­ing to­wards that di­rec­tion.

Ask him why kids have to be sent to Ger­many, and Screw­vala is em­phatic in his sup­port of that de­ci­sion which was dic­tated by cul­tural dif­fer­ences and the role of par­ents in In­dia. If the kid gets bruised four days in a row, his par­ents will say ‘no, my kid is not com­ing - he is hurt. The cul­ture and the dis­ci­pline level is dif­fer­ent - bruised or not, it is the physio who will de­cide what time you hit the ground and then you fol­low it.

At this stage, Screw­vala is ob­sessed about only one thing when it comes to foot­ball - in the next five years 20 boys from In­dia have to play in Europe for top Euro­pean clubs. With e-sports, he smiles, we are ex­plor­ing a very nascent sport which is do­ing well ev­ery­where else.

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