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Mumbai City FC hopes to get international club as partner

Bollywood actor Ranbir Kapoor and chartered accountant Bimal Parekh who came together as co-owners of the Mumbai franchise of the Hero Indian Super League are open to diluting stake, provided an international club is involved. The club, Mumbai City FC, launched its official logo in Mumbai on Saturday and outlined its strategy for the soon to be launched league.

A source close to the team reveals that the co-owners currently have a 50:50 partnership and both, the actor and the chartered accountant are in it for the long haul. Parekh agrees, “When I got to know about the ISL, I approached Ranbir. He suggested we partner on the venture and here we are. For me its a departure from the accounts books and an opportunity to try something new. He is passionate about the sport and understands it.”

Parekh confirmed that in case the individual stakes have to be diluted, the promoters would definitely look for a partner in an international football club rather than just a financial investor. “But that is still some years away. Currently, the focus is to build the team and the sport at the grass-root level,” he says.

The duo bagged the Mumbai franchise in the HISL for Rs 15 crore a year reveal sources. Over and above the franchise fee, the team will spend another five crore on management, promotion and grass-root development of the sport. This makes the total investment by the Mumbai City FC promoters close to Rs 20 crore for the first year.

Parekh says that both he and Kapoor are ready to shell out money for the first three years without breaking even or making profits. The league promoters, IMG Reliance and Star India, and individual franchise owners all agree that the HISL will be in investment mode for the first three years and only post that could anyone hope to make some money.

In case of the franchises, the main revenue source will be the sponsorship deals that the clubs strike with the brands. Much like the Indian Premier League, the HISL franchises will also be looking for front chest sponsors, back of the shirt sponsors, sleeve and shorts sponsorship along with apparel, kit, footwear etc. sponsorship.

Mumbai City FC has locked in two sponsors and will be making the announcement soon. It is in talks with around four other brands for possible sponsorship/partnership deals. The sponsors are a mix of Kapoor’s existing endorsement deals and new ones, reveal sources. The other main source of revenue will be the central pool which includes the on-ground and on-air advertising revenues that will be earned by the league. Of the total sponsorship and advertising revenue, 80 percent will be distributed equally among the teams while 20 per cent will be used to develop the league. Lastly, the franchises also get 100 per cent of the gate revenues (from the stadium tickets) for matches on their home grounds.

Mumbai City FC also introduced its technical director Nishant Mehra and COO Arunava Chaudhuri at the event. The logo of the club uses blue and red colours and elements that are symbolic of Mumbai city. The top of the logo has ridges to represent a fortress while seven stars in the design stand for the seven islands that make up Mumbai. The bottom element of the logo includes a local train that symbolises the life-line of the city.

“The rhythmic beat of a moving local train, is like the heart beat of the city and that is why we decided that the local train compartment has to be part of the logo,” explains Kapoor.

The domestic players in the team have already started their pre-season practice and will be joined by their international team-mates in a couple of weeks, subject to visa clearance. The club now only has to pick its marquee player from the central pool and will make an announcement regarding this over the next week.

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