While giving a keynote address at the Star Sports India Football Forum 2018 (30 Nov-Mumbai), Star Sports head marketing Rajiv Mathrani said, “The best way to predict the future is to dream it. India is not too far from playing FIFA World Cup with the increase in the number of teams, the ranking in which we are and the young talent which is coming along.”
Much of the credit to popularise football can be given to Star India which took the initiative to boost a variety of sports in India, then other broadcasters also picked up their shovels to dig deep. They have come up with a commercialisation model to drive in viewership.
Kushal Das, the All India Football Federation (AIFF) general secretary said that AIFF will very soon launch a school-level project along with the game’s world governing body FIFA.
As per BARC data, FIFA WC final garnered 16 million impressions in India and stood at fourth place. China (56 per cent), Germany (21 per cent) and France (19 per cent) were ahead of India. BARC India head- partnerships Elbert D’Silva said, “If we look at football, in 2016 the sport garnered 2 billion impressions and now till October 2018, it has garnered 3 billion impressions.”
In 2016, soccer contributed to 5 per cent of the total viewership on television and now it has reached to 7 per cent in 2018. As of now, there are 836 million viewers who watch television across India. Out of these 836 million viewers who have access to television, 791 million or 95 per cent have consumed some sporting content across multiple TV channels. If we look at football numbers, 498 million people have sampled some content related to football in the country.