Essendon Football Club and Adelaide Football Club are in the process of forming a strategic partnership that will see both Clubs work together to grow the game of AFL in India.

The partnership will have two clear strategic objectives:

- Increase participation and engagement with the Indian community in Australia

- Grow and develop the game of AFL in India

The partnership will see both Clubs undertake and develop a range of joint-initiatives and opportunities over the next 3 years, including:

- Strategic Partnership Working Group

- Business and Commercial Partner Network

- AFL India Game Development Program

- Cultural Awareness Training

- Indian Themed AFL Match – 2017 Essendon v Adelaide Round 21

As part of the agreement, both Clubs are open to exploring the possibility of an exhibition game being played in India in the future.

Essendon CEO, Xavier Campbell, said the partnership is an exciting development in the Club’s long standing relationship with the Indian community.

“This is an exciting partnership for Essendon, and one which we feel can provide unique opportunities for both Clubs into the future,” Campbell said.

“It is a different way to look at growing the game, and we believe in working closely with Adelaide and the AFL that we best positions ourselves to make a significant impact.

“Our Embracing India strategy has been in place for the past five years and we have seen positive growth in the Indian community participating in our Auskick and community programs, attending our games and signing up as members. We believe the time is right to increase the scope and intensity of our commitment.

“Although our discussions with Adelaide have not been built on the prospect of playing home and away football abroad, there is the opportunity to consider the potential of an exhibition or pre-season game in India, and this is something we would consider in due course.

“We have had lengthy discussions with the Australian and Victorian Government about how we can increase participation and awareness of the game in India through the formation of strategic partnerships, as well as working to facilitate introductions with significant India businesses looking to invest further in Australia.

“Both Clubs are committed to improving the resources on the ground in India to develop and strengthen the local competition, have started exploring broadcasting games on Indian TV and are open to exploring the opportunity to host exhibition games in the years to come.”

Key facts about India;

- India is the world’s fastest growing economy, with forecast growth of 7.5% this year

- By 2030 India will be the world’s most populous country, overtaking China

- Australia is the second-most popular study destination for Indian students – 60,000 came to Australia to learn in 2016

- 500,000 Australian are of Indian descent

- There are most 10 year olds in India than there are Australians

- A recent PwC study projects that by 2050 India will have the second largest economy in the world 

The Essendon Football Club has established the following programs and initiatives to grow the game among the Indian community both in Melbourne and India;

- Designated Indian AUSKICK program and partnership with Gurdwara Sikh Temple, Craigieburn.

- Globall Program which introduces new migrants and international students to Essendon games (more than 20,000 participants have undertaken this program so far).

- Multi-Cultural Schools Program conducted in NW region of Melbourne.

- Employment of Indian Community Officer, Sudip Chakraborty, recruited from Kolkata, India.

- Dedicated Embracing India themed Round since 2014.

- Sponsor and support the Indian team which will compete in the 2017 International Cup.

- 2017 Kevin Sheedy and EFC Officials attended AFL India National Championships in Kolkata.

- 2016 EFC Officials trip to India to meet with Star Sports.

- 2014 Players trip to India which visited multiple regions and conducted coaching clinics with AFL India.

- The Club is a proud supporter of the Bharat Bombers Team in the Unity Cup.

- A dedicated Indian Content Hub housed on the Club website which provides news and videos in Hindi.

- Press Red for Hindi – Indian Broadcast of EFC AFL match on Foxtel.

- Hindi and Punjabi commentary of games streamed on the Club website.

- Bombers in India Documentary Broadcast on Foxtel.

- Established local relationships with Indian media – SBS Hindi and Punjabi, Indian Sun

- Engaged local Indian business network, Indian Executive Club.