AIFF-IMG Youth tie-up, but no to marketing
A proposal from IMG-Reliance to the AIFF to support youth football in our country has been accepted by India’s football governing body which will allow 14 boys to train at the IMG Football Academy in the United States for several month’s. This is part of IMG-Reliance’s plans to give exposure to young Indian talent in different sports. Luckily football is amongst these sports.
Meanwhile besides the youth football deal IMG-Reliance had been also looking at working with the AIFF on marketing football in India, but the federation has turned down the offer as the federations marketing partners are Zee Sports with whom the AIFF signed a 10 year combined TV rights and marketing deal in 2005.
The new IMG-Reliance combine are looking at interesting sporting properties which they can develop together. As a start IMG-Reliance have bought the marketing rights for Indian basketball for an incredible 30 year period to develop and professionalise the game in the sub-continent. This means a pro league, stadia and training facilities, exposure, youth development, etc.
Football also happens to be on their radar, but it seems nothing going at the moment as long as the AIFF and the Zee Sports (Essel Group) remain partners. Still IMG-Reliance send out feelers to see if they could tempt the AIFF. They couldn’t do so for now, but maybe they will try their luck again in the future. And with rumours earlier in the year making the rounds that the Essel Group wanted to pull out of their 10 year deal after the review option after year five, something still could be possible.
The only important thing will be to ensure that Indian Football is shown live on television and at better times then 15.30 IST kick-offs.