Roger Goodell has made his goal of establishing no fewer than 10 teams in international markets as soon as he can uproot existing franchises to create unwieldy, logistical nightmares for everyone. With that in mind, it’s important to familiarize ourselves with existing football culture in other countries so we have jokes prepared for when the Jaguars move there.
And apparently there’s football in India, which is great, because I’m sure The Rog would love to tap into a potential market of a billion people. He’ll have some competition if that happens, though, as the Elite Football League India was formed there earlier this year. So far, it’s had to cut a few corners in the hopes of being profitable.
The EFLI had to build a league from the ground up. With eight franchises across India, as well as in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, the league set out trying to lure viewers to their TV sets, rather than fans to the actual games.
But trying to sell a new sport featuring players that are as new to the game as the viewers isn’t easy. To make the games more suitable to the Indian audience, the EFLI shortened the games. To cram a full 3-hour American football game experience into a one-hour time slot, the entire season was played in a single empty stadium in Sri Lanka, recorded and pre-packaged for TV. That meant that the EFLI could keep the games short by cutting such frivolities as huddles and timeouts. With the entire season in the can, it also made it easier to pick which players it should promote. To help create a season storyline from scratch, the league also produced slick documentaries of each team.
A football league organized entirely to cater to the television audience? Damn, this league isn’t even a full year old yet and it already has a smarter business model than the NFL. That said, if the NFL played all its games in one empty stadium, it would be the most grandiose, publicly funded empty stadium taxpayer dollars could buy.