By Kashinath Bhattacharjee
What a Bhaichung Bhutia or Sunil Chhetry cannot even dare to dream, an Indian company, Satyam, already did it!
And they did it in football, the most beautiful game of the universe, ignoring the game considered as religion in the Indian sub-continent. Never ever the leading global consulting and information technology services company had expressed their willingness to be associated with the cricket world cup, although two editions of the tournament were hosted in this country.
Here's an e-interview with Sridhar Maturi, Vice President, Global Marketing and Communications, Satyam
Q: What prompted you to be associated with the FIFA?
Satyam is a global company. Football is a global sport – it’s the global sport. It’s a perfect match.
We have 50,000 associates generating nearly $2 billion in annual revenues. Our operations span 6 continents and 57 countries. We have 27 development centers around the world. 40% of our revenue comes from Europe, South America, Africa and Asia. We probably are one of the most global IT services organizations on the planet.
FIFA is also a global body and our relationship with them, over the last couple of years has been enriching and we wish to extend this relationship further by our participation in the forthcoming world cups in 2010 and 2014
Q: Satyam had never been associated with the cricket world cup, though, in India, cricket is the most sought after game. And India is ranked around 150 in the FIFA ranking list. Yet, why you at Satyam preferred to be associated with the Football world cup rather than the cricket world cup?
Football is the most popular, most played, most watched – probably most talked about – sport on the planet. Our sponsorship will leverage that popularity and reach. It recognizes the sport’s universal appeal as well as its tradition of skill, speed, competitiveness and teamwork – attributes that reflect Satyam’s own qualities.
Q: How you got selected for the world cup? What was the official procedure to be selected as the official IT sponsor?
We have had an ongoing relationship with FIFA and we explored the possibilities of working with them to expand the reach of the game and as the discussions progressed, we were preferred as the only IT solutions provider for FIFA World Cup.
Q: What would be the amount you would be paying as the sponsorship fee for these period of seven years?
Our engagement is more to provide Value added services to FIFA and these form the integral part of the commercials for this sponsorship. The services delivered are a substantial part of the understanding.
Q: Is there any possibility that, for the Indian National League ie I-League, you may own an existing football club, like some other corporate houses?
We have not yet explored any of these possibilities as on date and will evaluate as we go forward.
Q: How do you wish to be associated with the development of Indian football? Your plans in this regard...
We are definitely interested in expanding the reach of this global sport in India and our efforts will be focused in this direction. Our initial focus will be to support at the grass root levels in our country and we will be chalking out our plans in the near future. We will be actively associated towards the promotion of the sport at various levels. We will share such plans very soon.
Q: Are you planning to set up any kind of football academy in India, like the Tata Football Academy?
As mentioned earlier, we will be exploring all avenues and will be working towards all possible opportunities in our efforts to promote the game. We will have to study various such models and analyse the efficacy, before we initiate any steps in this regard.
FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter
I am very proud that Satyam has chosen the FIFA World Cup for this historic move. Satyam's commitment is a testimony to the immense appeal of FIFA as a superior marketing platform for transporting a brand around the world. It is a big advantage for all those involved in the events to have such an experienced IT service partner on board. We look forward to working with such a dedicated partner who shares our ideals and identifies with our mission to use football as a tool to touch the world and build a better future.
B Ramalinga Raju, Satyam chairman and founder
We are pleased with the confidence FIFA has in Satyam to deliver mission-critical business and technology services for the world's foremost sporting event. This sponsorship recognises the sport's universal appeal and its tradition of skill, speed, competitiveness and teamwork – attributes that reflect Satyam's own qualities. Over the last two decades we have become an established global company, and this sponsorship will serve to further accelerate our global expansion.
FIFA News says...
FIFA had announced on 24 November, 2007, that Satyam, a leading global consulting and information technology services provider, has become the first Indian company to sign up as a FIFA World Cup™ Sponsor. This historic agreement awards Satyam global rights for the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ in South Africa, the 2014 FIFA World Cup™ in Brazil and the two FIFA Confederations Cups which fall within the 2007-2014 period. The partnership, sealed by FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter and Satyam chairman and founder B. Ramalinga Raju at a signing ceremony on the eve of the Preliminary Draw for the 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ in Durban, represents the first major sponsorship deal the IT services company has entered into – a further indication of the enduring appeal of football.
As the Official IT Services Provider to the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups, Satyam, which already enjoys a business relationship with FIFA, will play a crucial role in developing the core IT event management system for FIFA and its service partner for IT, accommodation and hospitality – MATCH AG, as well as local organising committees during the next seven years. With a presence in more than 57 countries, Satyam can fully leverage its global expertise and therefore enable FIFA not only to deliver world-class events but also focus on generating a long-lasting legacy for the host countries through hiring and educating local event staff.
Satyam is a significant investor in South Africa and leads a skills development initiative for South Africans under the Joint Initiative for Priority Skills Acquisition (JIPSA) programme. Currently, more than 80 South African students are enrolled in the year-long technical training programme at the company's campus in Hyderabad, India.
Satyam is the fourth company – after Anheuser-Busch, McDonald's and MTN – to join the proposed six-member FIFA World Cup Sponsor line-up under FIFA's commercial hierarchy, which comprises six FIFA Partners, six FIFA World Cup Sponsors and six National Supporters. FIFA has already signed contracts with adidas, Hyundai, Sony, Coca-Cola, Visa and Emirates Airline as FIFA Partners. In addition, Telkom SA was recently announced as the second National Supporter of the 2010 FIFA World Cup™ after FNB.