Subrata Dutta, the senior vice-president of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), lauded the efforts of their commercial and marketing partners in IMG-Reliance for coming up with an IPL-style football league in the country which shall kick-off in January next year.
“The IMG-R has already signed up some of the biggest names in world football who will be the marquee players for the eight franchises,” he told Gulf News.
He went on to add that IMG having conceptualized cricket’s IPL know the nitty-gritty’s of promoting a sport and making it a commercially viable property. Given that the AIFF too were keen on working along the same lines, their marketing partners’ proposal is very much welcome.
“Ever since the IMG-R took over our management rights, more than two-and-a-half years back, we were interested in developing a product along the lines of the IPL, which was a runaway hit. As the owners of the IPL, IMG was fully aware of how to maximise its commercial opportunities and that’s how the ball was set rolling.”
While the I-League clubs under the aegis of I-League Professional Football Clubs Association (IPFCA) have boycotted the new league by not associating themselves with any player who has pledged his allegiance with IMG-Reliance, Dutta gave the analogy of cricket to dispel their fears.
“The I-League is a time-tested product like a Test match in cricket, while the packaging will be completely different in the new league. The club loyalties will be replaced by city-based loyalties here where a top player from any Kolkata club can turn out for, let’s say, a Mumbai or Goa outfit. There is, hence, no question, of any brand dilution in the club’s following,” he mentioned.
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