ISL 2017: 5 cities the league should consider for expansion
India is known for its rich footballing culture and over the last few years, the ISL has become one of the highest viewed football leagues in the world. The average attendances for 2014, 2015 and 2016 editions of the tournament were 24,357, 27,111 and 21,003 respectively.
The league experienced a sharp growth in ratings after the 2016 season with over 216 million viewers on television throughout and the U-17 World Cup held in India earlier this year also recorded the highest attendance the tournament has ever seen.
The ISL needs to add more teams from cities which have a particular passion for the game and here we map out all the cities that can be considered in their expansion plans in the coming years to make it a more competitive tournament.
Malappuram is a district in Kerala which is well-known for their love for the beautiful game. The city has shown its love for football on a number of occasions and boasts of the Malappuram District Sports Complex stadium which hosted the Federation Cup 2013-14 season along with Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium in Kochi.
The average attendance at this venue for Federation Cup 2013-14 was around 21,000 which is its capacity, meaning that almost every game was sold-out. Malappuram has been the breeding ground for many budding footballers and their notable contribution to Indian football is none other than Anas Edathotika.
The city hosts many local tournaments including the Malabar Premier League which displayed the passion and support for the game in this particular region of Kerala. All these instances prove that a tournament of ISL's stature, if held in this town, could spark the attendance figures here massively.