As promised, La Liga is going all out to please, cater and capture the fan base for the sport of football in India. Come 23rd December, one of the world’s most lucrative and followed league will do unthinkable to become the Indian football fan’s foreign league of choice. When Real Madrid host Barcelona in the season’s first El Clasico, on the day, the match will be played at 1 pm local Spanish time i.e 4.30pm in India. This is the first time ever that a Clasico has been moved to this time to make it easier for India to watch. As per the reports, La-Liga mandarins have decided that every year, one Clasico should be ‘India-friendly’, rather ‘Asia-friendly’ so that it can cater to the Indian and Chinese market.
La-Liga had recently opened their Indian office has publicly announced and identified India as their key growth market. During his visit to India last year, the president of La-Liga, Javier Tebas had openly declared his ambition for India that in the next five years he would like to turn India into the largest overseas commercial market for the league. Not only league is ready to alter its timings for its most showpiece matches but are also open exploring bringing La-Liga league matches to India. Discussions have already begun in La-Liga circles on bringing friendly El-Clasico to India in 2019. Not only this the league is currently operating two academies in India and is planning to open couple more.
Along with the league, clubs are also trying its best to exploit the Indian market. Just a few weeks back, Barcelona announced that their legends team would play in Mumbai in January. The club chief Josep Bartomeu last year declared that he is committed to bringing Barcelona main team to play in India with-in next two to three years.
Quite clearly, La-Liga along with its known clubs are trying hard to capture the position of the most preferred and followed foreign league for the Indian audiences, the place secured by the English Premier League for years now. EPL over the years has been able to establish connect with the Indian audiences through its better marketing and packaging of the product. Indian audiences, especially youth relate to the EPL clubs whereas La-Liga is about few star players and three clubs.
Like La-Liga, EPL is also going all out to further strengthen its position of number one foreign league in India. EPL’s managing director Richard Master recently announced that “There is every possibility of top English Premier League clubs touring India for pre-season games in the near future”. Not only these EPL clubs are far more active in India through its academy and other commercial tie-ups. Amidst all the competition from EPL, if at all La-Liga has to achieve its India dreams, they have to do a lot more then what they intend to do currently.
For now, they have made the start by dedicating their biggest showpiece to the Indian football fans.