Pune: American football has been launched in India with 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. Although the name of the sports broadcasters have not been announced, but the EFLI release says that the channels are 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, “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 choicefor 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 supported by professionals from American teams. EFLI is scheduled to be promoted schools and colleges across India. Deserving candidates are expected to be picked up from grassroots level. In later seasons, teams will be selected from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Nepal and Pakistan.
The EFLI will work on a franchisee model, through auctions for Indian and non-Indian bidders. Marketing will include attractive merchandising model. In addition electronic, fantasy gaming and new media platforms will avaliable for 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.