Mumbai, August 6: As surprising as it may sound, American football is all set to take India by storm. Come November 2012 and the Elite Football League of India (EFLI) is expecting to hit the television screens to raise the pitch - la IPL cricket style.
The league was launched here on Friday and its founders expressed great confidence of the sport being embraced by the Indians.
Sunday Zeller, an American brand marketing consultant and EFLI founder, announced that the league will be held from November 2012 to January 2013 in Pune. Attempting to arrive as a serious sport, the league will begin with eight city-based teams (Bhubaneswar Warhawks, Mumbai Gladiators, Hyderabad Skykings, Goa Swarm, Pune Blacktigers, Kolkata Vipers, Delhi Defenders and Punjab Warriors) to be bought by investors round the globe.
Ten Sports has been roped in as the broadcastor for the 56 plus two play-off games for the inaugural league. The organizers have also tied up with the Sports Authority of India (SAI) to use their grounds.
”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,” said Zeller.
”The groundwork at the grassroot level has already begun,” stressed Richard Whelan, CEO, EFLI, adding that orientation programmes last month attracted as many as 4,000 potential players.
The CEO, however, refused to divulge financial details saying, “We are definitely structured to pay. We'll put up our business module in a month or so.” The organizers, however, are expected to shared 15% of the profits with the sports ministry. Whelan made it clear that the teams will be all-Indian with no players from the US. “We may get some professional coaches down to guide them.”