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Building businesses around talent

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Bunty Sajdeh, CEO, Cornerstone Sport

Bunty Sajdeh is a young, maverick and in-your-face entrepreneur who’s constantly looking to make a significant impression in the Sport and Entertainment industry. In 1998 he joined the entertainment business, in 2005, Sajdeh was propositioned by Indian Tennis ace Mahesh Bhupathi to join the latter’s agency Globosport as the Head of the Entertainment Business and in 2008 he finally decided to break away and start his own company Cornerstone Sport & Entertainment with two of his closest friends.

By disciplined efforts and individualistic marketing skills, Sajdeh has put together a team at Cornerstone today that is perceived as a credible, versatile and out-of-the-box thinking Sport and Entertainment agency. In conversation with Dominic Rebello, Bunty speaks about his idea of creating a plethora of opportunities in the sports business to give exposure and cultivate the sporting culture.

What is the concept behind Cornerstone Sport and Entertainment?
The word “Cornerstone" literally means laying the first stone or foundation around which one builds or constructs. In this case, we believe talent form the foundation of their respective fields as also our business. So, it is around talent that we build businesses and help the talent grow exponentially of their respective fields as also of our business. It is around talents that we build businesses and help talent; a win-win situation for both.

Cornerstone has young talented team that I believe are well trained right from talent spotting at the grass root level to servicing the biggest athletes, something our track record speaks for.
Currently who all are your clients?
We exclusively manage athletes such as cricketers Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharm ( only Digital & Licensing), Murali Vijay, Umesh Yadav ,Ishant Sharma, Manan Vohra, Varun Aaron, Shreyas Iyer, Mayank Dagar, Vijay Zol, Smit Patel; Indian football team legend Sunil Chhetri; Miihier Singh- India’s first & only physique athlete, Jehan Daruvala - racing prodigy and several others.
What solutions or assistance do you offer to Brands?
We assist brands in their marketing efforts with solutions from the sport and entertainment space be it player/celebrity associations, sponsorship, IP development and affiliations as well as brand activation. We offer services such as standard brand associations or endorsements, along with more superficial associations such as appearances-which are primarily BTL only. We undertake specialized events, which are generally conceptualized in house and executed, Initiating sponsorships for various series, team,etc- licensing and merchandising of athletes and celebrities.
How do you plan to scale up?
Every day is a learning curve as we explore the different avenues of sports marketing available to a boutique agency like ours. We are constantly looking above and beyond the run-of-the-mill endorsement and sponsorship opportunities out there and we will continue to make right and wrong decision, both of which will help us learn and thus expand and grow exponentially.

​Where do you see yourself five years down the road?
We are looking to make a difference in the Sport and Entertainment business. Create new opportunities for corporate, athletes, celebrities and most importantly the vast consumer base out there that is constantly hungry for more. Unlike ten years ago the variety of platforms to reach out to every TG is a lot more and accessible. It is great that the appetite for Sports in India is increasing steadily with the numerous leagues with emphasis on grass-root developments of talent across the country. It is my hope, that in the near future, we create a plethora of opportunities in the sports business not only to give exposure and cultivate the sporting culture that largely exists in our country but also inspire young athletes to follow their passion and take up sport as a profession.

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