Football in India is the number one non-cricket sporting discipline in terms of gross television audience and sponsorship sales. The claim is made by the LaLiga India MD Jose Cachaza, in charge for expansion of Spain’s top division football league business in India.
Cachaza strongly dismisses the notion that kabaddi may be rated above and ahead of football just for Pro Kabaddi has got “a few thousand more viewers” than the Indian Super League. He insists that football is undisputedly the second most watched and followed sport in the country after cricket.
“No, that is not right (to say that football is No. 3 sports in the country). Audience wise, if you consider all the competitions, football is number two. If you see Indian statistics, Pro Kabaddi League has just a few thousand more viewers than ISL. However, if you consider everything like LaLiga, EPL, UEFA and all other leagues, football is clearly the second sport. In terms of revenue, if you take sponsorship, ticketing and broadcast deals from ISL to FIFA, you will once again find that football is the second sport in India,” has told Indiantelevision.com in an interview.
The fan base, popularity and the number of youngsters embracing the sports is going to grow further as Cachaza leads a massive LaLiga expansion programme in India. The Spanish top division professional football league is setting up 33 football schools in 10 Indian cities with 4,000 kids as part of their ongoing project that was launched two year ago. Apart from Kerala and Delhi which now have functional centres, LaLiga will also be expanding its centres in Mumbai, Pune, Bengaluru and Kolkata.
The Spanish premier football league has launched its football school focussing on grassroots programme in Delhi in the first week of October and then in Kerala recently. In Delhi, the school was inaugurated by former French international and Arsenal legend Robert Pires.
Besides, the LaLiga has also worked on a strong television and social media presence in the country – offering tens of hours of content to India, various shows and content that is already on Sony and now will be available to fans through Facebook. The league is also be bringing legends like Fernando Morientes, Luis Garcia, Christian Karembeu, Gaizka Mendieta, Robert Pires and Steve McManaman.