Sports infrastructure in Andhra Pradesh would get a major boost with the state government signing a memorandum on Saturday with Florida-based International Management Group to build infrastructure worth Rs 700 crore (Rs 7 billion).
The initiative is aimed at producing champion sportsmen and women and for hosting major sporting events in the state. IMG will set up a string of state-of-the-art sports academies in the city and build a leisure, lifestyle and entertainment centre to groom talent. It would also market the Afro-Asian games which will be held in October 2003 in Hyderabad.
IMG will invest Rs 700 crore over five years, including Rs 500 crore (Rs 5 billion) in the initial 30 month period. To facilitate this, the government will give it 400 acre of land belonging to the Hyderabad Central University to construct a sports complex.
Another 450 acre will be given to the US company in the Ranga Reddy district to build a theme park targeting international travellers, a golf course, and infrastructure for leisure and entertainment facilities.
IMG proposed to the state government that the government create an AP Events Company as a separate entity from the Sports Authority of Andhra Pradesh.
The ownership of SAAP's stadia will be given to the event company which in turn will lease them to IMG for maintenance and profitable operation.
"This world class sports academy in Hyderabad will be the first one to be created outside of US by IMG, and it will cater to the training and coaching needs of sportsmen from across Asia," said Gelly Rao, director of IMG Academies Bharat, a subsidiary of IMG Academies of Florida.
The marketing firm has also offered to help Andhra Pradesh, and the country, in winning bids for hosting the Commonwealth Games in seven years and the Olympics in 15 years.
Ted Meekma, senior vice-president of IMG Academies, said that the firm got offers from Middle East and South-east Asia to set up the sports academy but chose Hyderabad because of the commitment, passion and drive shown by CM Chandrababu Naidu for promotion of sports in this part of the world.
The firm will come out with a comprehensive master plan within the next three months on how to market the city as the sports capital of the country.