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Mahindra Satyam scores heavily in World Cup

K Rajani Kanth 

Sridhar Maturi is on cloud nine these days. Reason: his is the only Indian company that is scoring heavily in this year’s FIFA World Cup.

If you have watched the matches closely enough, it’s difficult to miss the white-on-red logos of Mahindra Satyam in the soccer stadia across South Africa. And Maturi, who is global head (sports marketing and communications), Mahindra Satyam, says “We cannot get a bigger platform that what we are experiencing now.

With the sporting spectacle being televised on over 300 channels and more than three million people watching it directly at the 10 stadia, the brand benefit is tremendous.”

The Hyderabad-headquartered IT outsourcing provider was the first Indian company to sign a Rs 90 crore contract, part of which is value in kind, with FIFA, the world soccer body, as a sponsor and official IT provider for the 2010 and 2014 editions of the tournament.

The in-stadia advertisements are part of that deal. Ironically, the deal with FIFA was signed in 2007 by Ramalinga Raju, the former Satyam Chairman who is now in jail.

Maturi says that the bonus that Mahindra Satyam gets as a brand through the World Cup is that the viewership in the US, a predominant market for IT companies, has only doubled over the 2006 edition. “I think, it’s a great brand recall. Mahindra Satyam is known more in the US and we don’t need any introduction now. This is a clear indication that we are back in business and the recovery is as fast as it can be,” he adds.

Across $1 billion worth of technology assets, over one million hours of development work, one million ticket sales calls, 250,000 accreditations, 130,000 volunteers, 1,000 vehicles, logistics solutions for all the 32 teams, onsite hotline operations, 64 matches and 10 stadia in South Africa -- Mahindra Satyam is seamlessly integrating IT systems for the sporting event, which concludes on July 11.

“South Africa is another market where we are seeing a brand benefit currently. They (South African companies) just cannot ignore us anymore,” Maturi quips.

Harish Bijoor, brand-domain specialist and chief executive officer of Harish Bijoor Consults Inc, agrees. “FIFA will help in building the brand equity of Mahindra Satyam, going by the on-ground branding, and the company providing the technology backbone for the sporting event,” he says.

And the results seem to be profitable. Maturi says Mahindra Satyam’s successful implementation of IT processes at the Fifa World Cup in South Africa is opening up new opportunities and the company is in the process of replicating it in other sports disciplines across geographies.

“Not just South Africa, we are receiving inquiries from across the globe for deploying IT services at major sporting events. We have already pitched with the International Cricket Council (ICC) for an accreditation for the Cricket World Cup, scheduled to be held in the Indian sub-continent in 2011. We are hopeful of bagging this contract as well,” Maturi adds.

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First Published: Thu, July 01 2010. 00:32 IST