A diverse and passionate fan base, not necessarily market size, drives sponsors and brands into football says Euromonitor in a report titled Indian Super League: Outlook and opportunities
. Another factor driving the enthusiasm for ISL is that during the U-17 tournament, for the first time ever, viewer interest was sustained even when the national
team was not on the field.
Even though the Indian team did not make it beyond the elimination matches, the tournament rated well, with the bulk of the viewership coming from regions like West Bengal, Kerala and North East. The network had provided regional audio feeds in the form of Hindi and Bengali audio, and these constituted 40 per cent of the total viewership. Interestingly, 45 per cent of the total 47 million viewers were women. This means that the tournament registered more female viewers than most other sports tournaments broadcast in the country. The other tournament to attract more than 40 per cent female viewership has been the Indian Premier League (IPL).
Rajesh Kaul, president, Sports and Distribution Business, Sony Pictures Networks India says, “Our efforts towards leveraging and enhancing the popularity of the FIFA U-17 World Cup have yielded excellent results and we hope that this will be a pivotal point for the rise of football in India.”
Advertisers and sponsors focusing on non-cricket sports hope that the interest transfers to the ISL that has added two new teams, Bengaluru and Jamshedpur and is looking to cash in on the momentum created by the U-17 tournament. The ISL has Hero as the title sponsor and DHL and Maruti Suzuki as associate sponsors.
The U-17 world cup managed to get on-ground and on-air sponsors across the board. While Hero MotoCorp and LIC led the team of on-air advertisers, on-ground, the tournament partnered six companies. Called national
supporters, these included Bank of Baroda, Hero Moto Corp, Coal India, NTPC, Byju’s and Dalmia Cement. The event also had the support of FIFA’s global commercial partners, Adidas, Coca-Cola, Wanda, GAZPROM, Hyundai, Qatar Airways and Visa.
On an average, planners estimate the ad rates averaged below one lakh rupees for ten seconds. Hero ISL, which is now an established property, will be hoping that it can push up the rates for the 2017 season. The U-17 FIFA World Cup also saw healthy attendance in the stadii. The final which took place at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata had 67,000 attendees. The ISL and its sponsors would hope that the upcoming matches cross these numbers by a fair margin.
The demographic profile of each club’s fan base also tends to vary significantly. Some key findings for the Indian Super League are:
• NorthEast United FC tend to attract fans of all ages, including children
• Kerala Blasters FC fans tend to be younger (less than 30) and are predominantly male
• Mumbai City FC has a more fashion-oriented fan base
• Delhi Dynamos FC is especially popular among students
• With the experience of the just-concluded FIFA U-17 tournament, organisers of the ISL could focus on creating better fan-engagement initiatives and in-stadium facilities for female fans and thereby diversify the fan base
Source: Indian Super League: Outlook and opportunities, Euromonitor