For the game of football, South Asia proves to be the final frontier as China, India, and Indonesia are indeed growing markets.
The three most populous countries failed to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup. India and Indonesia have never qualified for the big tournament while China sneaked through once in 2002. The world’s most popular see South Asia as its final frontier.
Cricket is still the no. 1 sport in India, but football seems to gain ground gradually in the past couple of years. The inception of Indian Super League 2014 has been a big step towards making football a favorite sport among all sections of the society in India.
Football is third most watched sport in India as average audiences of Indian Super League is one-fifth of Indian Premier League. The fan base for football fans in areas, i.e., Bengal, which is a place where football is more than cricket.
Kerala and Northeast India are other areas; younger audiences immensely follow football. In urban cities, English Premier League and La Liga are the most watched league in India.
The Indian Super League has seen steady growth and has decent numbers in the stadiums throughout the competition. India’s last international fixture against Kenya was a sell-out and close to 18,000 came to watch the game.
Indian Cricket Captain Virat Kohli also attended the game to lend support for the game and generate more eyeballs towards football in India. Indian national football has also improved by a fair distance and now ranked 97th in the FIFA rankings.
The effect of the globalization regarding internet and technology has undoubtedly made viewers watch their favorite game on any medium.
Countries like Indonesia and India have the highest percentage of people, who view the English Premier League on television.
It will undoubtedly take some time before the popularity of football can scale new heights in South Asian countries like India and China.