AUGUSTO RODRIGUES | NT
Arrosim, Cansaulim: The 13th edition of the I-League, starting today, will start with an extra sparkle for fans, players and club owners not only because the roadmap for football in India is in place but because for the first time a broadcast partner DSport is in place due to the initiative of Punjab FC owner Ranjit Bajaj.
It was during the meeting attended by the I-League clubs with Asian Football Confederation (AFC) in Kuala Lumpur that the clubs were allowed to rope in a broadcast partner. “I had made it clear and asked AFC secretary Windsor Dato to minute the point that I would be allowed to get a broadcast partner with no interference. They agreed and I began my work and that is how DSport joined as official broadcasting partner and Instat Sports for production and interface experience,” Ranjit Bajaj told The Navhind Times.
“AIFF President during a meeting with I-League club owners had requested them to get a broadcast partner, if they could. It was nice that the clubs took the initiative and once they brought in the partner, they were finalised after they signed an agreement with Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL),” stated Sunando Dhar, CEO of the I-League.
“The previous broadcast partners wanted eight crores to broadcast the I-League. They wanted Rs four crore from FDSL and four crore to be paid by AIFF and the clubs. I managed to get a better deal from DSport which will now mean that each I-League club will need to pay Rs 45,000 per match for telecast that will be covered by eight HD cameras, with replays and graphics,” elaborated Ranjit.
“When I went out in the market to search for a broadcast partner, I was surprised to know that there were many companies willing to be partners and that none had been approached. There was Facebook, Sony, Doordarshan and other TV companies ready to jump on board. They all complained that they were never approached,” claimed Ranjit who sees his mission in getting DSport and Instat Sports as fulfilling. “I was responsible in getting Instat Sports when I had started Minerva Punjab FC and that link helped,” added Ranjit.
“When Rajit made the proposal during the AFC meeting, I did not think it would be possible or was under the impression that he would just make an attempt and finish it off at that. It was only during the last club meeting in New Delhi when the broadcast partners were unveiled and when Sunando mentioned the role played by Ranjit we all gave him an ovation. I have started to trust the man more,” said a club CEO on condition of anonymity.
“Now our clubs can expect quality production for a good three years. With the air of uncertainty cleared, we can concentrate more on football,” added the CEO.
“The I-League has always boiled down to the last games. It has never been possible to pick out the favourite till the very end and that is the beauty of this league. I am sure, the fans are going to enjoy the party,” said
With DSport and Instat on board, football fans in India will be able to follow the fortunes of 11 teams through 108 of the 110 games being broadcast live.