The game of football is the most watched sports in the world with a large number of fans centered in Europe and South America.
For South Asia, cricket has always been the no.1 sport, but there has been an increase in the growth of football fans in India, which is supposedly the biggest market for the game in Southeast Asia.
India last qualified for a FIFA World Cup in 1950 and is currently ranked 163rd according to the latest FIFA world rankings.
The influx of various television channels has seen a rise in the interest in the game among Indian audiences.
Due to an increase in the number of television channels, football has gained significant ground in India and gained the following among the masses. Thirty-four million viewers watched the 2002 FIFA World Cup.
According to media research that there are 83 million football viewers in India and close to 60 percent watch domestic games of various leagues like English Premier League, Bundesliga, and La Liga.
Indeed, the big money makers will be keen to exploit India as it has over 1 billion people and a decent growth rate.
EPL’s most successful football club, Manchester United opened a merchandise store in Mumbai in 2011. The following year, Manchester United opened a football academy in India.
The inception of the Indian Super League in 2014 helped bring audiences to the stadiums. The league has garnered a good response among all segments of the society.
The league has lured many big players to take part in the competition with Robert Fires, Nicolas Anelka, David Trezeguet, and Roberto Carlos, making their appearances for various franchises in the tournament.
Indeed, the potential is there for the game of football to scale new heights regarding interest and following among audiences.
It will take some time before India can gain prominence in the world of football like Japan and South Korea, who have seen a steady increase in the game among youth over the past two decades.