Elite Football League of India Launched
America’s top sport all set to grow into most lucrative league in India
America’s top sport and one of the world's most powerful economic forces in professional sports – American football – is all set to change the sporting landscape in India with the launch of the Elite Football League of India (EFLI). The inaugural season of the EFLI will be played from November 2012 through to February 2013.
The first season of EFLI will be held at a custom-fit stadium in Pune between eight teams from Delhi, Mumbai, Goa, Bhubaneswar, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Punjab and hosts Pune. Each team will play the other twice, which adds up to 56 games plus two play-oﬀ games to decide the top teams. One of the country’s leading sports broadcasters is on-board with the story with the intention of being the official broadcast partner and will air the games, including the Saturday and Sunday games as well as 13 Monday Night Football games.
Speaking at the inauguration, Ms. Sunday Zeller, Founder, EFLI said, “The launch of EFLI in India is a momentous occasion for us and indeed for the game. American Football is an inherent part of the American way of life. With a history of over 100 years, the game has acquired cult status in US, which can be mapped alongside its history. India has been known to assimilate cultures like very few countries have done, and that, coupled with the immense pool of talent makes it an ideal choice for a concept like EFLI. We are certain that these factors will combine to make India a force to reckon with in this great game of American Football, apart from creating the most lucrative sports league in the country.”
The EFLI will comprise of Indian players and coaching staff who will be ably supported by professionals from American teams. One of the purposes of EFLI is to promote football as a culture and to do that a lot of programmes will be conducted at schools and colleges across India to provide opportunities for deserving candidates at the grassroots level. In the subsequent seasons, similar programmes will be conducted in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan. The idea is to eventually attract talent from all these nations to be a part of EFLI which will add a lot of flavour to the league.
The EFLI will work on a franchisee model, and like all franchise sports, the team ownership will be determined through auctions. What differentiates EFLI from other sports operating on the same model is that the bidding for ownership would be open to Indian and non-Indian bidders alike, making it the first truly international sport league in India. The games will be broadcast on television and will be well supported by other forms of marketing including the very attractive merchandising model which has proven its worth in recent years. In addition, are the opportunities present in the electronic, fantasy gaming and new media platforms all of which offer explosive potential to brands for consumers outreach.
Talking at the opportunities offered by EFLI, Mr. Richard Whelan, CEO, EFLI said, “With a population of over a billion and one of the highest rates of economic growth, India is beyond doubt a great market for the sports and entertainment sectors. A concept like EFLI presents a huge opportunity and the perfect platform for brands, both, currently operating in India and those planning to enter the Indian market, to get visibility and reach out to their potential consumers.”
The EFLI has been working with the Government of India and the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to bring this sport to India. The SAI recently allowed its facility in Balewadi (Pune) to be used for an orientation programme conducted by EFLI. SAI has also consented to support such programmes across other major cities which will host similar programmes in due course of time. On its part, the Elite Football Federation of India (EFFI) will share 15% of its revenue with the Ministry of Sports, Government of India which will go towards maintaining many of its ongoing programmes and facilities.
Speaking about the partnership, Mr. Manohar Bangera, COO, EFLI, said, “Sport as a culture and way of life is a relatively recent phenomenon in India. While the government agencies do their bit to promote sport, in our opinion, the private organisations including sports governing bodies and corporates have as much responsibility. We are glad that the Government of India and the Sports Authority of India have been very forthcoming and supportive for EFLI and hope that this is just the beginning of a historical and mutually beneficial partnership.”
# # #
For more information please contact: