i1 Super Series, Indian Motorsport

i1 Super Series Reveals Franchise Owners And More

Posted: November 2, 2011 at 6:21 pm   /   by   /   comments (6)

The much awaited i1 Super Series of the Indian Racing League is back in the news again. I had predicted that traction for these series would pick up once the Indian Grand Prix would conclude. The organizers and management have revealed a few of their franchise owners and financials for owning an i1 team. The best time to make motorsport news – piggybacking the Formula1 hype!

Sachin Tendulkar (Read post: Sachin Tendulkar To Wave The Chequered Flag At The Indian Grand Prix) has been announced as the ‘brand ambassador’ and ‘advisor’ of the series; a role that hasn’t been well defined yet. I presume that the organizers would use Sachin’s imagery and might to attract crowds to the circuits for their events and of course other investors and sponsors. Barring that, I can’t visualize any other role for the Master Blaster.

In their announcement, the organizers claim to have attracted famous Bollywood personalities and cricketers to own franchisees. The i1 Super Series has also managed to attract investments from wealthy business families, an indication that Indians are biting the motorsport bait!

I had written about the Indian Racing League in August and had also indicated that a TV deal will be the key to i1’s success. (Read: Indian Racing League and the i1 Super Series) The organizers also announced that they have entered a broadcast deal with Ten Sports. The broadcast and programming details haven’t been released yet.

The list of franchise owners that were revealed by Machdar Motorsports:

Mumbai – Shah Rukh Khan, Jai Mehta and Juhi Chawla (co-owners of the Kolkata Knight Riders)

Delhi – Mohit Burman (co-owner of the Kings XI Punjab) and other investors

Hyderabad – Nagarjuna and N. Prasad (entrepreneur)

Chennai – Tony Fernandes and SG Srinivas

Chandigarh – Yuvraj Singh and a local businessman

Kolkata – a consortium involving Saurav Ganguly

Pune – A Bollywood connected business family

Bangalore – a consortium of investors

The above list is not confirmed, but reveals that at least two Indian Premier League owners are interested in owning franchisees in the Indian Racing League. Also, Team Lotus Racing boss, Tony Fernandes is keen on co-owning the Chennai franchise. Interestingly, even the Burman family, that was linked to purchasing a minority stake in Team Lotus Racing last week, is interested in the IRL. (Read post: Burman Family Buy Into Team Lotus)

In the August post, I had also raised a few valid questions on the operations of the i1 Super Series and you could read them here – ‘Indian Racing League and the i1 Super Series’.

Additionally, the organizers also revealed that the cost of $15 million to own a franchise for 15 years would be split. Interested owners would need to cough up $5 million in the first year to buy the franchise, followed by an annual outlay of only $1 million for 10 years. Somewhere, the organizers also indicated that much of the marketing for the series would be done by themselves. While there isn’t much clarity here, I would hope this is not the case. It would be good to see the franchise owners go out to the public to create and promote their motorsport brand in their own ways.

The last and the most interesting part that was also shared was their driver status. Each team’s driver composition would need to have one international driver, one Indian driver and one domestic driver. This would mean that at least 16 Indian drivers should get good exposure once the series goes live. However, the downside, is that the drivers would be selected via an invitation-only process!

Comments (6)

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  • November 4, 2011 at 8:52 am NEEL

    By the looks of it..the venture looks pretty decent. Especially after the success of F1 race in India, I believe it will attract sufficient audience on TV.

    Reply
  • November 4, 2011 at 7:17 am Rajan Davare

    This is an excellent idea and i am sure motor sports will grow in a big way but unless we have a mushrooming of go-karting tracks in the country its going to be difficult and slow.
    Also will these owners give exposure to young talent also like you have in the IPL

    Reply
    • November 4, 2011 at 12:19 pm Kunal Shah

      Thank you guys for your comments. Let us hope that this is a step in the right direction for Indian motorsport.

      Reply
  • November 2, 2011 at 7:33 pm Zahid Khan

    Your website is really a little gem of Indian motor sports, ill help spread the word 🙂 good to know they got such a strong almost IPL like line up, if they play their cards right this can be a hit, i say bring Lalit modi back 🙂 or get him on the advisory panel

    Reply
    • November 3, 2011 at 5:03 am Kunal Shah

      Thank you for the good words Zahid. And getting Lalit Modi would of course help! Do spread the word, cheers!

      Reply
  • November 2, 2011 at 6:33 pm Amit Mantri

    tats really gr8 4 indian motor sports industry

    Reply
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