Saturday, May 18, 2024

Hockey India League mooted for 2024 relaunch

The Hockey India League (HIL) is inching towards a return to the calendar in 2024. 

Hockey India announced details of a commercial and marketing partner, Big Bang Media Ventures, for the weeks-long tournament which was last played in 2017. It is likely to be held after the Paris Olympics, with qualifying set for early 2024 when the HIL has been scheduled in the past.

Despite highlighting the performances of the men’s and women’s teams at the Tokyo Olympics in its release, Hockey India didn’t otherwise mention for definite that a women’s HIL would be forthcoming if the league returns, an issue recently shared by columnist Lily Owsley.

“It will revitalise not only hockey in India, but also bring fresh energy to the sport globally,” said Hockey India’s upbeat president Dilip Tirkey.

“The Hockey India League was one of my top priorities when I assumed office as president of Hockey India. It will be a critical stepping stone for India.

“Their [Big Bang Media Ventures] understanding of sport, esports, content, media and IP monetisation is unparalleled and we are very excited for what we could collectively achieve and deliver.”

Big Bang Media Ventures Pvt’s remit will include bringing in sponsors and potential franchise owners. International Hockey Federation chief Thierry Weil revealed last October that Hockey India had written to the FIH to find a suitable window in the calendar to stage HIL for the first time since 2017.

Based on cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) model, the first edition of the HIL in 2013 featured five franchised sides – Delhi Wave Riders, Mumbai Magicians, Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Ranchi Rhinos and Uttar Pradesh Wizards.

It was disbanded in 2017 after hitting financial issues.

Kalinga Lancers at a previous HIL

HIL looked set to return in 2019 featuring men’s and women’s teams and a shortened format played under five-a-side rules but it never got off the ground.

“The HIL was a big success for the game and we are now in the process of reviving the league early next year,” a HI source told the Press Trust of India news agency.

“We wanted the league to start as soon as possible but there is no window in FIH till February next year. But it gives us ample time to put all the things in place.”

Based on cricket’s Indian Premier League (IPL) model, the first edition of the HIL in 2013 featured five franchised sides – Delhi Wave Riders, Mumbai Magicians, Jaypee Punjab Warriors, Ranchi Rhinos and Uttar Pradesh Wizards.

HIL looked set to return in 2019 featuring men’s and women’s teams and a shortened format played under five-a-side rules but it never got off the ground.

Total Hockey

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