IMG Worldwide

IMG Worldwide

December 09, 2010 10:33 ET

IMG Reliance Acquires All Commercial Rights to Football in India

Goal of Maximizing the Sporting and Commercial Potential of Football in India from Grassroots to the Professional Level

MUMBAI, INDIA and NEW YORK, NEW YORK--(Marketwire - Dec. 9, 2010) - The All India Football Federation (AIFF), the governing body for football/soccer India, announced that IMG Reliance, the joint venture between IMG Worldwide and Reliance Industries, has acquired all the commercial rights to football in India. During the 15-year term of the agreement, IMG Reliance, in cooperation with the AIFF, will radically restructure, overhaul, improve, popularize and promote the game of football throughout India, from the grassroots to the professional level. 

Under the progressive leadership of Mr. Praful Patel, AIFF is committed to make football the top sport in the country following cricket. IMG Reliance will bring to this endeavor the best global sports development practices which will be required to ensure the project's success.

The agreement with AIFF grants IMG Reliance all commercial rights to football across all football properties controlled by AIFF including but not limited to the national teams and all current and future professional leagues. Such rights include media rights, sponsorship and advertising rights, licensing and merchandising rights, franchise rights, new league rights and any other commercial rights attached to any of these properties. Recently, the AIFF amicably negotiated an early termination of the existing commercial arrangement with Zee Telefilms Limited. AIFF President Mr. Praful Patel acknowledged the great contribution to the sport that Zee had made during their involvement.

IMG Reliance's obligation to AIFF is to rebuild the sport from grassroots to professional game so that that a sustainable sporting model is created providing the platform for the national teams to reach their full potential on the international stage in AFC Asian tournaments and ultimately in the FIFA World Cup. 

The basis of this platform will be efficient talent scouting and development process culminating in the development of an elite world class professional domestic league which will showcase the best available Indian and international talent. This process will evolve over a period of time, will be inclusive of the AIFF and its respected member associations and will concentrate on sporting sustainability with the expectation that commercial value creation will follow. Training facilities for Indian talent will be modeled on IMG's world-leading sports academy in Bradenton Florida where the entire Indian Under 14 team are currently on fully funded scholarships provided by IMG Reliance.

This agreement with the AIFF follows IMG Reliance's recent similar announcement of acquiring the commercial rights to basketball in India, in cooperation with the Basketball Federation in India.

"The AIFF has a vision for the sport of football in the country. Our engagement with IMG Reliance comes at a pivotal stage of this pursuit to enhance the quality of football and develop the sport across the country. IMG Reliance brings together an unparalleled advantage of the execution capabilities of Reliance and the global expertise in marketing and development of sports of IMG. We have shared what we have learned from the past and agreed on the tasks at hand as we embark on this exciting journey with them," said Praful Patel, President, AIFF.

Commenting on the development, Mrs. Nita Ambani, Member on the Board, IMG Reliance said, "As the youth of India make a mark in the global stage, we need to invest in developing platforms which can help our talent to realize their potential. IMG Reliance is committed towards developing these platforms and the tie-up with the All India Football Federation is a significant step in this direction. I am thankful to Shri. Praful Patel and all the senior office bearers at AIFF and it is a privilege to partner them in the joint pursuit of developing Indian football to its truest potential."

"We are incredibly excited about the future of football in India," said Ted Forstmann, Chairman and Chief Executive of IMG Worldwide. "It is the second most popular sport in the country with a massive and passionate fan following. The excitement and exuberance that was evident in the streets of the major cities in India during this year's World Cup, as well as the estimated 110 million Indian television viewers of the games, is a good indication of potential for future success. With the cooperation and participation of the AIFF, IMG Reliance is committed to making football a commercially exciting and successful sport in India. In a country with a population of 1.2 billion people and incredibly talented athletes, it's a realistic goal that India aims for a future World Cup berth. Together with our Indian Basketball deal, this gets IMG Reliance off to a fantastic start," Forstmann concluded.

About All India Football Federation

The All India Football Federation is the governing body of football in India. There are more than 3.5 million registered players organized in 6,540 clubs in 36 State Associations, which are all affiliated to the AIFF. The Indian national team won the Nehru Cup 2009 final against Syria and the AFC Challenge Cup 2008 therefore qualifying for the next Asian Cup to be held 2011 in Qatar. The AIFF has the aim to make Indian football successful at international level by improving the Indian National Football team's position in FIFA's world ranking and encouraging the younger generation to participate in football.

About IMG Reliance

In 2010 Reliance Industries Limited (RIL), India's largest and most recognized private sector company headed by Chairman Mukesh Ambani, and IMG Worldwide (IMG), the world's leading sports marketing and management company headed by Chairman and CEO Ted Forstmann, announced the formation of an equal joint venture to develop, market and manage sports and entertainment in India. The joint venture company, IMG Reliance Pvt. Ltd., will provide and operate first-class infrastructure and coaching facilities in the country to unlock India's sporting potential and to create and operate major sports and entertainment assets in the country. In its first initiative, IMG Reliance entered into an agreement with the Basketball Federation of India (BFI) to create a new professional basketball league and manage all aspects of the commercial rights to the game in India. IMG Reliance has also created a scholarship program to identify and train talented young Indians from t sports - basketball, soccer and tennis–at IMG's world-class sports training facilities at IMG Academies in Bradenton, Florida.

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