Elite Football League of India

The Elite Football League of India (EFLI) is a professional American football league based in India. It was founded with eight franchises in 2011, and now has 23 franchises throughout South Asia, among whom 20 located in India, two in Sri Lanka and one in Pakistan.

The winners of the first championship were Pune Marathas, who claimed the title after defeating Delhi Defenders 6–0 in the Elite Bowl I on 10 November 2012.[2]

Most recent season or competition:
2012 EFLI season
Elite Football League of India Logo
SportAmerican football
Founded5 August 2011[1]
Inaugural season2012
CEORichard Whelan
No. of teams23
Country India (20 teams)
 Pakistan (1 team)
 Sri Lanka (2 teams)
Most recent
Pune Marathas (1st title)
Most titlesPune Marathas (1)
TV partner(s)TEN Sports
TEN Action


In August 2011, the EFLI announced the launch of the league.[3] The aim of the league is to introduce American football to the Indian market and its large consumer base.[4] The organisation's management team consists of United States and Indian business and entertainment executives, and several U.S. sports figures.[5] U.S. brand marketing consultant Sunday Zeller is noted as the founder.[6]

Prominent investors include Brandon Chillar an Indian American linebacker from the Super Bowl-winning Green Bay Packers who played eight games that 2010 season until an injury put him on the injured reserve list,[7] Super Bowl-winning head coach Mike Ditka, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Michael Irvin, and former NFL quarterbacks Ron Jaworski and Kurt Warner.[8][9] Investors outside of the sports community include U.S. actor and entertainment producer Mark Wahlberg.[10]

The first regular season games began 22 September 2012.[11] EFLI games are broadcast on television in India, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan, and in the Maldives, Bangladesh, Nepal, Hong Kong, Indonesia and Japan on Ten Sports. This will represent a potential audience of over 500 million viewers.[12][13]

League structure

The EFLI management's intent is to draw current rugby players from India over to the sport, in part by paying higher salaries than the rugby leagues.[14] In the announcement of the league on 5 August 2011, CEO Richard Whelan noted that orientation programmes had attracted over 4,000 interested players in the previous month alone.[15] Similar orientation events are planned for Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Bangladesh and Nepal to attract a wide talent pool.[16]

Ownership of the teams will follow a franchise system, similar to the structure of the NFL, and ownership will be determined in an auction format. Unlike ownership rules in other Indian sports leagues, bidding will be open to both Indian and non-Indian investors alike. Although specifics about league finances have not been announced, officials note that 15% of revenues will be shared with the Ministry of Sports.[12]

While the teams represent cities across India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan, all games for the inaugural season were hosted in Sugathadasa Stadium in Colombo, Sri Lanka. The Sports Authority of India provided also the Balewadi Stadium, which was used for pre-season activities.[12] The games were held in a round-robin format so that all teams played each other.[16]

The expansion plans include total of 24 teams, as a part of a project, which aims to expand to 52 teams by 2022.[17]


Current teams

India Pakistan Sri Lanka
Elite Football League of India is located in India
Blue Panthers
Blue Panthers
Location of EFLI teams in India
(Stallions and Warriors are not pinned on this map, because the associated cities have not been announced yet.)
Location of EFLI teams in Pakistan
Elite Football League of India is located in Sri Lanka
Location of EFLI teams in Sri Lanka

Former/defunct teams


Season Elite Bowl Final Venue MVP # of Teams
Winners Score Runners-up
Pune Marathas 06–00 Delhi Defenders Sugathadasa Stadium,
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Roshan Lobo (RB, Warhawks) 8
2015 Cancelled
in favour of inaugural EFLI University Championship

Elite Bowl records

In the table below, teams are ordered first by number of wins, then by number of appearances, and finally by year of first appearance. In the "Season(s)" column, bold years indicate winning seasons.

Team Appearances Wins Losses Season(s)
1 Pune Marathas 1 1 0 2012
2 Delhi Defenders 1 0 1 2012


In 2012, the filmmaking duo Evan Rosenfeld and Jenna Moshell began following the EFLI and chronicling its inaugural season and the introduction of American football to South Asia in the documentary Birth of a Sport.[18]

See also


  1. ^ "American football gets set for India". NDTV Sport. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  2. ^ Roy Chowdhury, Souvik. "EFLI Stat Sheet: Pune Marathas". Yahoo Sports. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  3. ^ Acayan, Ezra (2011-08-05). "Elite Football League of India launched - Mumbai". Demotix.com. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  4. ^ "American football is coming to India | ProFootballTalk". Profootballtalk.nbcsports.com. 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  5. ^ "Gridiron league launched in India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2011-08-05. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 28 July 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2011.
  7. ^ "ESPN".
  8. ^ George, John (2011-08-03). "Ron Jaworski is investor in new India football league - Philadelphia Business Journal". Bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  9. ^ "American Football in India?". Inquisitr.com. 2011-08-03. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  10. ^ Daniel, Kaplan (2012-01-25). "Kurt Warner, Mark Wahlberg investing in new Indian football league". Bizjournals.com. Retrieved 2012-01-29.
  11. ^ "Scores and Schedules". EFLI website. EFLI. Retrieved 13 November 2012.
  12. ^ a b c Ivie, Eric R. "NFL stars taking American football overseas: A fan's perspective - NFL - Yahoo! Sports". Sports.yahoo.com. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  13. ^ "'They Need TV Product': Why American Football Is Coming To India". Newsfeed.time.com. 2011-08-04. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  14. ^ "Money scores, American football lures Indian rugby players". Indian Express. 2011-07-18. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  15. ^ "Now, EFL wants to take India by storm - Times Of India". Timesofindia.indiatimes.com. 2011-08-06. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  16. ^ a b 5 August 2011 Mumbai IANS (2011-08-05). "American football comes to India". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 2011-12-02.
  17. ^ "Coming soon: American football in cricket-crazy India". Firstpost. 2012-04-01. Retrieved 2013-10-06.
  18. ^ "Birth of a Sport: American Football in India and Pakistan by Evan Rosenfeld — Kickstarter". Kck.st. Retrieved 2013-10-06.

External links

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