The Elite Football League of India, the Indian version of
American Football, has taken another step towards fructification
as the West Bengal government has given the much-needed permission
to the league organisers to hold matches at the Salt Lake
Stadium, beginning November 2012.
enthusiastic support from West Bengal sports minister Madan
Mitra, the Salt Lake Stadium will play host for the inaugural
season of the Elite Football League of India (EFLI), which
will see nine national teams from Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata,
Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Pune, Rajasthan and Punjab
and three international teams from Pakistan, Sri Lanka and
Bangladesh compete for the title.
said: "It is our great pleasure to lend full support
to the EFLI in bringing the worlds biggest sport to
Kolkata. The state government is proud to be instrumental
in bringing this great sport to West Bengal. Our partnership
with the EFLI promises to be a mutually beneficial one as
it will enhance our sporting culture as well as provide multiple
Co-CEO Richard Whelan said: We are extremely thankful
to the West Bengal government and in particular the Honourable
Minister of Sports, Madan Mitra, for giving us the opportunity
to be part of the wonderful sporting culture which is an inherent
part of the state. Shri Mitra will be seen as the pioneer
in helping bring the worlds largest sport into the country.
We are very happy that the EFLI has got a home in West Bengal
and the games will be played in the best stadium in the country."
Lake Stadium, the second largest non-auto racing stadium in
the world and the largest in the Indian sub-continent, will
be the home to Elite Football League of India athletes. The
stadium that can hold up to 1, 20,000 people and has a field
measuring 105 × 68 metres. Its fielding turf, which
is the most appropriate field in India for American football,
is being utilised as the training ground to give formal training
by some of the best coaches in the US.
the EFLI had roped in father of TV football in America, Sandy
Grossman, an eight-time Emmy Award-winning director, to head
the the production. Grossman, who is one of the most highly
decorated professionals in the sports media industry, is currently
gearing up his team at the Salt Lake Stadium for the test
matches that will begin in June.
games will have a record of 11 cameras, whereas Grossman who
has directed several Super Bowls has used as few as eight
on Fox NFL games.
COO Manohar Bangera said, "Sport as a culture and way
of life in West Bengal, with soccer and cricket leading the
way. We are pleased the Shri Mitra has added American football
to the sporting fabric of the state and the country. The West
Bengal government has been very forthcoming and supportive
for the EFLI and we are certain that this is the beginning
of a historical and mutually beneficial partnership."
team will play the other twice, which adds up to 56 games
plus two play-o? games to decide the top teams.
Sports is the official broadcast partner and will air the
games, including the Saturday and Sunday games as well as
13 Monday Night Football games.
EFLI will comprise 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.
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.
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.
games will be broadcast on television and will be well supported
by other forms of marketing including the merchandising model.
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.