New Delhi: The All India Football Federation (AIFF) on Thursday sold its telecast and marketing rights to Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)-International Management Group (IMG) for a whopping Rs.700 crore for a period of 15 years.
AIFF president Praful Patel told reporters, after the federation's Annual General Meeting (AGM) here, that the telecast deal, which is the biggest after the Indian cricket board's deal with Nimbus, will help the federation to market and promote the game effectively.
"Today we also ended our telecast and marketing rights deal with Zee Sports. RIL-IMG will pay out the next five years of the Zee deal and then 10 years for an amount that comes to Rs.700 crore," said Patel, who is also the union civil aviation minister.
"We are confident that this deal will contribute to the development of Indian football. I have spoken to Mukesh Ambani and he is personally interested in developing infrastructure for the game in the country," he said.
AIFF's deal with Zee was to run till 2014 but the federation decided to call it off with still fours years left as it felt that its tournaments, especially the showpiece I-League, was not getting the desired publicity or coverage.
Patel said that now RIL-IMG will be looking for a telecast and title sponsor for the I-League, which has entered its third round.
"Our contract starts today and I am sure RIL-IMG will be looking to get a telecast and title sponsor at the earliest. There is also a possibility that the I-League would be called Reliance I-League, but it is up to them to decide," said Patel.
Patel also said that AIFF had forwarded all the proposals it has received for the telecast rights of the 2010-11 season of the I-League.
"We have forwarded all the proposals to RIL-IMG. It was just a back-up plan that we had and now it is for RIL-IMG to decide," he said.
RIL-IMG has also decided to sponsor the under-14 team for the next three years and the first batch is training at their Florida base.