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Volume 10 No. 22

Events and Attractions

India’s fledgling American football league is aiming to draw 120,000 fans to its second season opener on Dec. 31, a mark that would make it the highest-attended football game ever. The Elite Football League of India is moving from having its games played all in one location for TV production purposes, as it did last year for its first season in Sri Lanka, to a more traditional, home-team stadium experience, with fans paying for tickets and the games being televised live. EFLI has hired the Leo Burnett agency to launch a marketing campaign in India to bring more attention to the sport. League co-founder Richard Whelan is convinced the population and consumer explosion occurring in India, combined with the love of entertainment and American sports, will fuel success.

LEARNING FROM CRICKET: The Indian Premier League so outsized expectations in a country with 1.2 billion people are not uncommon. For now, the league is coming off a debut year in which revenue was not the focal point, with Whelan noting that the focus was on making the games TV programming rather than in-game experiences. How, and how much, that might change this year with an effort to bring fans to games, along with sponsorship and licensing pursuits, was unclear. The league also, starting next year, plans to sell franchises to raise funds. Investors currently fund the league. Among them are former NFLers Kurt Warner and Mike Ditka, and actor Mark Wahlberg. The league also has drawn several high-profile advisers, including former Fox Sports exec Ed Goren. The Notre Dame-Michigan football game on Sept. 12, 2011, in Ann Arbor currently holds the record as highest-attended football game, at 114,804. Kickoff for EFLI’s second season is slated for New Year’s Eve at 120,000-seat Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata.

Mena Golf Tour Chair Mohamed Juma Buamaim has "delivered on his promise to expand the competition for its third season" after announcing the addition of five events, according to John McAuley of THE NATIONAL. The '13 schedule, which runs from March through November, will feature 11 tournaments. New stops on the tour this year are Morocco -- 23 players represented the country in the last Mena campaign -- Qatar and Oman. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has added an extra tournament "following the success of the inaugural American Express Dirab Golf Championship."  Buamaim said that talks "have taken place regarding a tournament in Egypt." The tour has also created a board of trustees with Arab Golf Federation Chair Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi "seated alongside representatives from Egypt and Saudi." The Saudi event was the only sponsored entry in '12, but Buamaim said that this season "will see an injection of revenue from other sources" (THE NATIONAL, 2/2).

Libero Sports India is the knowledge partner for FICCI "Goal 2013" Int'l Convention for Football Business, a platform created by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry to promote football development in India. The conference, which is open to the public, will be held on Feb. 14-15 at the FICCI Federation House in Delhi. The convention will focus on football in Asia and the opportunities in India (Libero Sports). ... The All India Football Federation has selected the state of Madhya Pradesh "to host the 2nd division I-League National Football League along with Karnataka and Tamil Nadu." The U20 I-League "will kick off in the first week of March while the 2nd Division League will start after the Santosh Trophy" ends (TIMES OF INDIA, 1/31). ... Online ticket marketplace viagogo revealed that it has started legal proceedings against Bundesliga club Hamburg SV. Viagogo is seeking to recover €200,000 ($273,000) in damages resulting from a breach of contract and has pledged to donate all the proceeds from the lawsuit back to HSV fans. The company is also requesting a public apology. Viagogo signed a partnership in September to be HSV’s official secondary ticketing partner, but the agreement was not honored by HSV and viagogo subsequently terminated the contract in December (viagogo).