Colonialism brought with it seeds of sport to flourish as means to reach the then discontented masses. Cricket and football were taken up with equal enthusiasm in the colonial era. Social clubs playing either sport or both, sprouted in presidencies within the geographical boundaries of colonial India. Soon enough the masters where given a run for their money, as sport rapidly took up a central position in anti-colonial sentiments. Beating the Raj at what they took pride in was high on the agenda and hence the early signs of fanaticism in Indian sport took shape. History bears witness to the talent and fanfare both Cricket and football enjoyed prior independence.
In the immediate years following independence, the spillover effects where unimaginable especially in football where India established itself as one of Asia’s best. As political leaders looked to resurrect a broken economy and alleviate its structural problems, success on the sporting field kept the masses in hope of a better tomorrow. The 1983 world cup triumph capping cricket’s moment of glory.
With the 20th century drawing closer, recreation and sport had filed for divorce. Globalization had brought with it privatization and a host of tools to commercialize sport, broadly termed as marketing. Professionalism in all aspects became the order of the day; recreation took a back a seat. A new Industry which could be explained from every economic line of thought was born.
In India, Cricket caught the bus, building a brand and marketing it well, the question is why did Football miss it?
There are a number of reasons for failing to hop on, some obvious, others debatable. The reasons being discussed in depth many a time by experts, this research aims to study whether football in India can thrive again in the way it used to.
For this, a model has been developed , and through this model I will be studying the Consumer Behavior towards the efficacy of a short and potentially attractive tournament in Indian football to complement the existing one. The model is described in brief as follows:
ALL STAR FOOTBALL LEAGUE OF INDIA
•An IPL like franchise model covering a team from each city. The following cities/ state are under initial consideration with additions to be made if necessary
Kolkata, Goa, Delhi, Mumbai, Kerala, Bangalore, Chennai, Chandigarh, Pune, Assam, Manipur/Meghalaya/Sikkim, Chandigarh.
• Each Indian team/ franchise will tie up with a foreign club of repute. The following clubs are under Initial consideration.
Man Utd, Arsenal, Liverpool, Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers, Bayern Munich, Inter Milan, AC Milan, Barcelona, Real Madrid, Man City, Tottenham Hotspur, Celtic, Rangers. ( example: Chandigarh Chelsea,Manchester Mumbai etc.)
• The tournament is to be functional for a month with initial league matches played in two groups of six teams each. Two teams from each group qualify for the semifinals and their winners play the finals.
• Each Indian franchise will bid for one of the above clubs and the highest bidder will receive rights to use name, imagery and publicity rights to promote the foreign clubs and its own name in the Indian market.
• The foreign club apart from lending its property rights to reach out to the Indian consumer, will also provide coaching and technical expertise.
•The foreign club is to provide 5 players of proven caliber ( youngsters or stars towards the end of their careers), to which 11 Indian nationals, 2 foreign players who have played in India for more than 2 years and two under-19 Indian players, are to be added to make a 20 man squad.
•All matches to be played on weekends during off season of international club football and post conclusion of the I-league. Matches to be played under floodlights.
• Matches to be telecasted live and deferred along with highlight packages and interactive sessions hosted by partnering television channels. ( preferably Espnstar)
A point to be noted is that this tournament is not a rival to the I-league and in fact aims to increase standards of the I-league by increasing competition for places. With improved standards and mass awareness through the proposed tournament, the Indian players and those based in India, will not only receive recognition but football in India will get a much needed boost in terms of media coverage and sponsorships.
With the above model in mind, answer the following questions. Please take your time to think before you answer each question!!
I am undertaking this research for my dissertation required to complete an M.A. Degree in Economics from Loyola College Chennai and of course since I live for football!
Mail me for suggestions/queries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you very much for your time and please follow the link given below for the survey.