India's American Football League Finishes Debut Year With Low TV Revenue, Fan Interest
Season one of the Indian American football league "passed by mostly unnoticed," according to Ranjita Ganesan of the Indian BUSINESS STANDARD. Launched in '11, Elite Football League of India, the first men's professional American football league in the subcontinent, "has not garnered much interest." With six Indian teams and one each from Sri Lanka and Pakistan, "it managed to land a television broadcasting deal with Ten Sports." However, the league's first season, with 51 matches played between July and August, "went mostly unnoticed." The games, which were played in Sri Lanka, "were slickly edited but the frenzy of activity on the screen only confused the viewer." After "the tame first season, the league management now plans to air short instructional videos before and after matches to explain the rules to viewers." Ten Sports CEO Atul Pande said TV revenue for the EFLI's first season was "negligible." He expects that the sport will "gain momentum over the next five to 10 years." EFLI co-Founder Sunday Zeller said, "The biggest challenge, quite frankly, has been ignorance of the entertainment value and potential for revenue, based on the U.S. model and the history of NFL. In a country where sport has merely been a hobby or an Olympic event, this concept has been difficult to take root" (BUSINESS STANDARD, 1/19).