Friday, 7 October, 2022

Revenue will be shared among all three parties: Ishtiaque

Bangladesh are all set to embrace a franchise-based hockey league for the first time in the country’s sports history. The tournament is expected to start on October 25 where a total of six teams will take part in the league in Dhaka. ACE - a sports management firm, which is also a sister concern of Bashundhara Group, will provide all the logistics support in the tournament. The Daily Sun recently talked to Ishtiaque Sadeque, the chief executive officer of ACE regarding various aspects of the hockey league.


Here are the excerpts from the interview:  

 The Daily Sun: Are you sponsoring the league?

Ishtiaque Sadeque: We aren’t the sponsor. ACE, a sister concern of Bashundhara Group, is the host of the event. We have taken permission from the Bangladesh Hockey Federation to host the franchise hockey tournament for the next five years. The day after tomorrow (Monday) we will be having the MoU signing. It’s kind the federation has given us permission to host the franchise hockey tournament privately. We are giving the responsibility of the six teams to six different corporate houses. Pakistan Super League is also run by a third party and the model is quite the same.

The Daily Sun: What makes you interested to host the tournament?

Ishtiaque Sadeque: We want to revive hockey in our country and that is the major reason behind taking this initiative. ACE is a sports management company and the chief patron of this organization is Safwan Sobhan Tasvir. We feel that we have some responsibility towards hockey and we want to fulfil our commitment as you know Bashundhara Group has always been promoting sports in one way or the other.

The Daily Sun: Will you share the revenue?

Ishtiaque Sadeque: Look this is a product of three parties – the hockey federation, us and the teams. Whether we will make a profit or loss, certainly the revenue will be shared among the three parties.

The Daily Sun: Do you feel it sustainable?

Ishtiaque Sadeque: Look, the price of hockey players are less than football and cricket players. In football or cricket, a certain player costs more than TK one crore. But our budget for a whole team during the upcoming tournament is around TK 1.25 crore. The reason behind that is we want to organize this tournament every year. It’s not that we want a franchise to leave the tournament after one or two years. This is the reason we have signed a five-year deal with respective franchises.

The Daily Sun: Will it be named as six divisional teams?

Ishtiaque Sadeque: This is yet to be sorted out. If they (franchises) agree then it will be named after the divisions. Otherwise, we will be giving names to different teams like say Bashundhara’s team will be named - Bashundhara Warriors. If the owners don’t agree to name their teams according to the divisions, they will name them according to their corporate houses.

The Daily Sun: How confident are you regarding getting good foreign hockey players within the budget?

Ishtiaque Sadeque: Look you have to understand that it is a budget tournament. Firstly, we have to understand that people don’t have the same love for hockey as it was before and for us, the main challenge is to bring back that love. In order to make it more attractive, we are taking several initiatives. We are eyeing to rope in Shakib Khan as the brand ambassador of the tournament. We are also talking with several other celebrities in order to associate them in this tournament so that it attracts common people. If it attracts the audience, certainly big foreign players will come if not today than tomorrow.

The Daily Sun: Will you increase the remuneration of the players?

Ishtiaque Sadeque: If we can successfully host the tournament this year and if we find more sponsors from next season and teams get more interested, certainly we will increase the remuneration considering this year we have decided to pay them a minimal amount. We have priced the players after sitting with the hockey federation. After talking with the players, they (the BHF officials) confirmed to us that it will be around TK 80 lakh to complete the payment of the players of each team for this season.

The Daily Sun: Does the tournament take place only in Dhaka?

Ishtiaque Sadeque: In the first year, it will be played only in Dhaka. As you know, we only have five turfs in Bangladesh. But in the coming years, we will see whether we can spread it elsewhere or not.