In the NFL, games have only about 11-13 minutes of actual in game action. A study shows that the average game has just 10 minutes and 43 seconds of actual playing time. If you sit through a NFL game, you’ll be in front of your TV for about 3 hours and 6 minutes.
‘The team on offense has a maximum of 40 seconds after one play ends to snap the ball again. A regulation NFL game consists of four quarters of 15 minutes each, but because the typical play only lasts about four seconds, the ratio of inaction to action is approximately 10 to 1. (At the end of a game, if one team has a lead and wants to prevent the other team from scoring again, standing around and letting the clock run down becomes a bona fide strategy).’
Translation: Advertisment : Broadcast ratio = 1:2
A marketer’s dream.
The NFL has long been one of the most lucrative sports leagues in the world. And now the sport is coming to India with a league of its own sometime in 2012. Here’s a snapshot of their website.
Here’s a list of the proposed teams:
-Pune Black Tigers
So who’s bringing the league here? Here are some prominent names who are backing it:
- Ron Jaworski, former NFL player and currently an analyst on ESPN
- Mike Ditka, former player and coach
- Packers linebacker Brandon Chillar (of Indian descent)
Here’s what they have to say on their venture:
“A few enterprising Business Men / Educationists / Sports Enthusiasts from the US have resolved to bring the American Football into India and promote it as “ Indian Game “ packaged perfectly and specifically to compete for television and media viewership. EFL India will ultimately become one of the most valuable sports franchise in the world. Thousands of jobs will be created as a result of the immense need for coaches, athletes, trainers, referees, and support staff as well as the even greater demand for employees in the legal, maintenance, media, marketing and retail sectors.”
“The EFL will be the first professional football league that pays coaches and athletes. The league will strive to eventually support the highest paid athletes in all of India. Founding athletes and coaches will have an opportunity to become owners of the league. The league will recruit and train a team that will physically and strategically compete at the level of the current U.S. teams, one day defeating the U.S teams, in a competitive play. The league will forge strategic alliances by offering ownership opportunities to all imaginable Indian entities; Business, Military, Municipal Corporations, Private Individuals & Public Entities etc.”
Seems that the teams will be auctioned, if the owners are like Mark Cuban, it’s hard to see the teams and the league not doing well:
“Economically, the EFLI will have an astoundingly unmatched impact on the country of India. The league will corporate sponsorship from around the world and provide a platform for multinational companies to reach India’s burgeoning retail market. The EFLI will auction eight teams internationally. An opportunity will be created within the Indian investment banking arena to offer franchise, league and team ownership to the public marketplace. “
The EFLI officials are optimistic about the initiative. “Because there are 43 players in a team, as opposed to the more standard 11, many more sportsmen will find jobs. Just like the IPL did for cricket,” says an official who is not willing to share more information at this stage.
The EFLI has picked the right time for its Indian touchdown. According to TAM, a company which analyzes TV audience and sports trends, Indian viewers are now watching sports other than cricket. “Which means,” says an industry expert, “that we’re not a country that watches only one sport. In 2009, the year before the football world cup in South Africa, more news articles were published about football than about cricket!”
They are reportedly already training rugby players in American football. Here are a couple of tweets from Daniel Kaplan, of the Sports Business Journal:
“India has no history of American football, but backers sure cuz country is crazy about American entertainment, this will fly.”
“They are training rugby players right now. Top rugby coaches involved. Seriously unlikely any US players would got there.”
I wouldn’t be too sure about US players not coming here. Look at the NBA and how many of their players go to Europe to play. But to get the crowd here to be invested in the sport, they may have their work cut out a bit.
Recently, the Indian Women’s team had a great game against Korea Samsung. Games like these, without taking anything away from their superb performance, aren’t too rare in basketball leagues around the world. And those games involve more athletic and skilled men. But the response to this win of India among the basketball community was much more enthusiastic then it would have been if the audience was unfamiliar with the team. See, we know our players, have a vested interest in their performance, and identify with their struggles in performing in a sport which takes a back seat to cricket. To get the audience to be involved in a league, the players need to be marketed and have a visible public persona that the general public can identify with. Of course, there are many more ways of marketing such leagues, it’ll be interesting to see how this works out for the game of Gridiron football in India.
Here’s a comment on one of the readers on the story:
Have you ever watched a game of American Football???!!!!! Tremendously EXCITING! Strength, speed, violent collisions, suspenseful goal line stands, and “long bomb” touchdown throws!!!! This will be a WINNER! Most exciting sport EVER to watch in person and on TV!!! Throw in the Cheerleaders (google Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders) and I think this is a no-brainer.
Nice to see some real NFL expertise and talent behind this as well. Jaworski and Ditka are legends in the game! I find it hard to believe they would embrace this type of enterprise if they didn’t believe it would be successful.
1.2B people in India…if even 10% watch the game that’s more than watch the NFL in the U.S. I think this is a sport the country of India will love and embrace! Big win for the country and TV viewers of India!
Sounds Utopian, but you never know. Stay tuned for regular updates.