The family which owns the Hindu Group of publications (Kasturi and Sons Ltd) has signed up as the first franchise owner for Premier Futsal, the recently announced league where eight teams will compete in an indoor five-a-side variant of soccer.
The investment is being led by Rohit Ramesh, sports consultant at Hindu Group and son of Ramesh Rangarajan, director for the Hindu Group of publications. While the investment of approximately Rs.10 crore each year, for a period of 10-12 years, is in their personal capacity, publications from the group, namely The Hindu and The Hindu Business Line, will feature as prominent sponsors for the team.
The owners of the other seven city franchises—Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata, Goa, Bengaluru, Hyderabad and Kochi—are likely to be announced in the coming weeks, said Dinesh Raj, managing director, Premier Futsal. “Four out of eight city franchises have been finalized. We want to make sure that whoever comes on board is bringing in more than just the financial investment. They should be passionate about the sport and be involved in building the league,” he said.
The sports league is a unique league which brings the legends of football and futsal together for the first time.
With the launch of the inaugural season on 15 July, approximately a month away, the organizers are expected to pull out all the stops to ensure the league gets the attention it needs. Raj maintained that the league and broadcaster are expected to invest close to Rs.25 crore over one month to advertise the inaugural season across television, outdoor, print, radio and digital.
“By 25 June, all the players will be finalized through a player draft system,” said Raj. Each franchise is expected to invest approximately Rs.8-10 crore each year, and will include everything from the execution, salaries for team and staff, marketing and logistics, among other things.
The broadcast rights for Premier Futsal have been secured by Sony Pictures Networks (SPN) India for a period of five years on a revenue-sharing basis. “They (Sony) will co-promote and co-market the league with us,” said Raj.
Without spelling out the details of the deal, he maintained that the league was expected to earn approximately Rs.30-40 crore per year in revenue from broadcast, largely through on-air sponsorships, through SPN. The association with the league is expected to enhance the Sony India’s offering of football programming which includes marquee tournaments, such as the Fifa World Cup, UEFA Euro 2016 and Copa América Centenario.
The publications of The Hindu Group compete with those of HT Media Ltd, the publisher of Mint.