AFL in India could be happening soon if the Dons and Crows have their way.
The old saying “footy, meat pies and Holden utes” may soon have to be altered to “footy, naan bread and rickshaws.”
Doesn’t have much of a ring to it does it? Nonetheless the Essendon and Adelaide Football Club’s are both reportedly keen to play a pre-season match in India.
AFL in India
The Herald Sun is reporting that a pre-season match in the world’s second most populous nation could happen as soon as next year.
“Both clubs are committed to improving resources in India to develop and strengthen the local competition, have started exploring broadcasting games on Indian TV and are open to exploring the opportunity to host exhibition games in the years to come,” Dons CEO Xavier Campbell told the Herald Sun.
“We have had lengthy discussions with the Australian and Victorian governments about how we can increase participation and awareness of the game in India through strategic partnerships.”
“We have seen positive growth in the Indian community participating in our Auskick and community programs, attending our games and signing up as members.”
“Although our discussions with Adelaide have not been built on the prospect of playing home and away football abroad, there is the opportunity to consider an exhibition or pre-season game in India.”
India makes more sense than China
I think this move by the Bombers is a smart one. In fact I think appealing to the Indian market makes a lot more sense than reaching out to China.
You only have to look at India’s passion for cricket and the success of the IPL to see that sport is a very lucrative business in India.
The challenge of course for the Crows and the Dons is convincing the cricket loving nation that thirty-six blokes running around kicking a bit of pig-skin is worth watching.
Worth a drop-punt
I think it’s certainly worth a crack. For both clubs the financial upside of getting a foot into the door of such a huge market is massive.
Should the match happen as early as next year, I’ll be curious to see whether the players embrace the local cuisine or do a Shane Warne and smuggle some baked beans into their luggage.
by Michael T. Lynch – contributor