The Delhi 2010 Commonwealth Games are in dire need of some good news. If things go according to plan, that will happen through the launch of the Games merchandise at outlets in the Capital on Monday.
Unfortunately, like various other aspects of the Games' preparations, this too is a delayed start. The London 2012 Olympics opened their first merchandise outlet two years before the Games, but here, we only have 57 days to go.
OC spokesman, Lalit Bhanot, told Hindustan Times, We would have liked to launch earlier, but didn't want it to coincide with the football World Cup. It is unfortunate that we have so little time left, but I am sure the response will be great."
The tender process for merchandising began in November 2009 but the first tender had to be scrapped because revenue targets were not being met. What we were getting earlier was just about 2.3 crores. Now we have finalized a deal that guarantees 7.2 crores, and could go up depending on sales. We are pretty sure it will increase."
Premier Brands will be responsible for merchandising operations, and will put on sale a number of products in 12 categories, including apparel, toys and souvenirs.
Bhanot also said the official letter terminating the services of Sports Marketing and Management (SMAM), tasked with landing sponsorship for the Games, had been sent only on Friday, and until that was done, the merchandising launch was not possible.
Merchandising was also under the charge of OC joint director general, M Jayachandran, who has been suspended and is under inquiry for his alleged role in the Queen's Baton Relay financial irregularities.
Friday was the first day of Jayachandran's hearing and Bhanot was non-committal on his replacement.
The OC has been accused of failing to secure adequate revenue to pay back the 1620 crore loan it received from the Centre, but Bhanot said, We have raised 600 crores through sponsorship and broadcast rights. More deals are going to be finalised in a few days, and we will meet the targets."