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Brands across categories are backing the India contingent that will represent the country at the upcoming 2020 Tokyo Olympics scheduled to start from 23 July.

The Indian Olympic Association (IOA), for instance, has signed brands such as Edelweiss, INOX Group and Nippon Paint as national sponsors. While dairy brand Amul, Raymond and JSW Group has come on board as partners. Raymond is the official styling partner. MPL Sports Foundation has come on board as principal sponsor in a deal worth 80 million rupees that covers the Tokyo Olympics as well as the Asian and Commonwealth Games next year.

“Although the team has no kit sponsor this year but we have got support from JSW Group, Amul, Edelweiss, INOX, and MPL Foundation. As per the deals, promotions will be executed across social media platforms," said IOA president Narinder Batra.

The association, which recently unveiled the official anthem sung by Mohit Chauhan, also said that it is setting up around 6, 500 Olympic selfie points at all railway stations across the country.

“We will try to set up these points at petrol pump stations. It will be a big activity which will involve IOA, Fit India and Sports Authority of India to come out in support of the athletes who will represent India at Olympics. We will leverage radio, print and television to promote the event," said Batra.

One of the sponsors MPL Foundation plans to leverage the popularity of Olympics to encourage phygital model basically promote digital sports which can then feed into physical sports.

“The idea is to have large scale virtual competitions in these tournaments which can create subsequent interest in the physical sports. For instance, we have partnered with Rifle Association of India to create trap and skeet online shooting game which is a format played in Olympics. The aim is to have a national level virtual tournament of this game and have the winners come to a physical shooting arena and create a hybrid tournament," said Dibyojyoti Mainak, senior vice president, Policy and Legal, Mobile Premier League (MPL).

MPL will also roll out scholarship programmes for budding athletes apart from launching campaigns to promote the current contingent that will represent India at the Olympics.

Meanwhile, individual athletes being represented by sports management firms such as JSW Sports, have also signed deals with brands. The brands are expected to run digital and promotional campaigns as excitement builds up around the once-in-four-year global sporting event.

JSW Sports has signed eight deals so far for Bajrang Punia (nutrition brand On, ExxonMobil Lubricants, sports equipment brand ASICS and Coca Cola), javelin thrower Neeraj Chopra (Gillette and ExxonMobil Lubricants) and wrestler Sakshi Malik (Bridgestone and ASICS).

“The second wave has made brands apprehensive towards associating with Olympics but in the last few days with buzz around the tournament we have started to see a renewed interest in sponsorship. Brands did not access to athletes because of safety and hygiene issues. Under the circumstances, brands that have come on board will be using digital rights and digital content and pre-shot footage on smartphones for promotional purposes and campaigns," JSW Sports chief executive, Mustafa Ghouse said.

As of today, a total of 116 athletes across 18 sports and approximately 80 medal positions have qualified to participate in the Tokyo Olympics. India is among 11 countries identified as high risk by the Japanese authorities that has led to the host country imposing restrictions on the players on arrival.

IOA has will be appointing covid liaising officers (CLO) and assistant CLO’s that will be coordinating with officials dealing with covid protocols. “Despite the challenges, we are hoping to put a good show and get double digit medals from this Olympics," said IOA’s Batra.

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