ONGC is title sponsor for NFL

NEW DELHI: Glitz, glamour and hi-tech are set to invade Indian football as sponsorship money rolls in for national tournaments.

Zee Sports and Indian football federation today announced that government-controlled oil major ONGC will be the title sponsor for the 10th edition of National Football League (NFL).

The event, called ONGC Cup National Football League, will offer total prize money of Rs 11 million, including cash awards for fair play and highest goal scorer. The winner of the tournament will take home Rs 4 million, while the runners up will win Rs 2.2 million.

Out of the total 90 matches, Zee Sports will telecast about 45 matches live and exclusive starting 10 January, 2006. Matches in the first month of the competition will be telecast simultaneously from Kolkata and Goa.

A production team flown in from around the world, which includes British match director David Horridge, will produce the 12-camera telecast of NFL. In the UK, Horridge is involved in directing Champions League matches.

The telecast will include preview and review shows, half time match analysis and various studio programming. Legendary soccer commentator John Helm and former English player Russell Osman will be commentators for the 10th NFL.

While complimenting ONGC for its "prudence in sponsoring the NFL," information and broadcasting minister and head of the All-India Football Federation Priya Ranjan Dasmunsi said some of the matches will be shared by Zee Sports with pubcaster Doordarshan.

"The details of the matches to be shared will be worked out in a meeting between Zee and Prasar Bharati chief executive soon," the minister added.

According to Zee Sports business head Himanshu Mody, the value for sponsors in Indian football has entered a "new level as has become obvious from the strong response received" from the corporate houses that want to be associated with sports.

"To promote NFL across the country, we are undertaking a marketing campaign, which will involve on-air, off-air and online promotion. We are sure that all this, along with Zee Sports distribution strength, will bring lot of value to the sponsors," Mody added.

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