The recently concluded I-League has been the most intriguing in quite a few years. Be it the last few minutes deciding where the title landed or the relegation of a 3-time I-League winner, the league had everything one could ask for. Here are the top five reasons for the league being as successful as it was:
Increased Brand equity
Unlike previous years, the 2015 edition of the I-league saw a lot of efforts being put into for an image makeover of India’s national league. HeroMotoCorp jumped in as the title sponsor. A brand new website, I- league app for android phones, twitter friendly prompts during matches, pre and post match analysis, presentation ceremonies etc. were introduced. The quality of telecast improved with multiple mobile cameras. Coverage in the print media was by far the best this year.
However, the English proficiency of most of the commentators was shameful. Though it left a lot to be desired, I-League 2015 can easily be marked as the year when I-League’s brand equity started to move upwards.
Quality of football
The standard of football played in this year’s I-League was arguably the best ever. Be it passing, speed, stamina, strategy or finishing, every aspect showed marked improvement. It was undoubtedly THE most competitive I-league till date. Five teams were fighting to get out of the relegation zone even on the penultimate day. The champion was decided after a grueling 96 minutes of the last match on the last day of the marathon league.
The last round matches between Mohun Bagan and Royal Wahingdoh FC or MB and Sporting Clube de Goa was of sublime quality and passion. Performance of Bengaluru FC and East Bengal in the AFC cup matches was noticeably better too. Not often one gets to see Indian teams toying with South-East Asian clubs. With a second string team, EB decimated Balestier Khalsa 3-0.BFC made it to the pre-quarter finals with commendable performances all along.