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Dear Hockey India, value your fans too.

Dear Hockey India, value your fans too.

Jimmy Bhogal

Published: 24 March 2019 6:16 AM GMT

Hockey fans in India and around the world were once again in agony when they found out that there was no broadcast of the ongoing Sultan Azlan Shah Cup. One of the reasons being last few years have been great for Indian hockey fans when it came to broadcast. Most of the tournament, even the ones that did not feature India were televised. Currently, Pro League, which India is not part of, is also shown live on TV.

Star Sports, India’s leading sports channel has been catering to Indian hockey fans for last few years. Though the fans did not have everything they wanted (previews and post-match discussion), but they were able to watch matches live.

But what changed with Sultan Azlan Shah? Why were matches not televised in India?

Rumor has it, that, the contract between Hockey India and Star Sports is over. 

And Hockey India, had no clue about it.

The understanding they had was that the contract was good till Sultan Azlan Shah Cup and the tournament will be broadcasted in India.

Question arises, was Hockey India informed by Star Sports that the contract had expired? Were both parties interested in renewing the contract?

No Takers for Hockey in India?

With the IPL season on, it was going to be always tough to onboard a broadcaster with cricket fever gripping the country.

One tweet to us said that broadcasters were approached but no one was interested in covering the tournament.

If this is true, it speaks volumes of the impact of sport like hockey in India. Once considered a big crowd puller, hockey in India today does not command even little attention from the masses in India. If not, then why would sports channels in India shy away from broadcasting the tournament in India?

Free Loaders

What about FIH Live, fans may ask, why were the matches not shown on FIH Live?

Once again, little birdie tells us that Hockey India tried reaching out to Astro Arena (the primary broadcaster) to show matches live on FIH Live but wanted it for free viewing. Even FIH tried to convince Astro Arena but they could not as Astro Arena has a contractual obligation with Star Sports for telecasting the matches and they did not want to default on that.

When we asked around more on this, we were told to ask FIH for further details.

Hockey is on downward spiral in India, apart from few pockets, the sport is dying in this country. When things like these happen, people do get upset, people do get angry.

Only thing, we Indian hockey fans can do is, beg the hockey federation to make sure that tournament in which our team is playing is being televised because there are still many people in India, for whom, hockey is still a national treasure. https://twitter.com/TheBridge_IN/status/1109412230825734145
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