I-League 2017-18: Shilling Lajong launch 'first-ever Season tickets'
What’s the story?
I-League club Shillong Lajong FC announced that they have introduced the first-ever “Season Tickets” for the upcoming season of the I-League. The price of these tickets ranged from Rs 3,000 (VIP) to Rs 250 (open gallery stand).
In an official statement, the club urged its fans to turn up in huge numbers and get behind the players.
“As we prepare to put our best foot forward in the upcoming I-League, we appeal to all the football loving people of Shillong and Meghalaya to come and support us in our endeavour to ensure that the city and the region continues to not only be a supply of talent to the nation but also be an important hub of footballing activities of the highest level in the country," read the club statement. “This will not be possible without the support of our fans.”
In case you didn’t know…
Shilling Lajong is one of the three clubs to have sustained its participation in the I-League over the last seven seasons. Only Mohun Bagan and East Bengal have managed to sustain alongside Lajong. Established in 1983, the club took nearly 26 years to get into the fold of the I-League. In 2009, they joined the I-League 2nd Division and just after one season, they were promoted to the first division.
The heart of the matter
Season tickets are a common practice in European football. Most clubs sell season tickets, which provides the fan to have an access to all the home matches for the season. This ensures that no matter what, a dedicated band of supporters will turn up for each and every home game.
In India, the concept has not yet caught on. Tickets are usually sold on matchday basis. True, a few faithful supporters go for every match, but they are only a handful.
By introducing the concept of season tickets, Shilling Lajong has turned a new page in the history of Indian football.
I-League and ISL will be running simultaneously this season. The I-League season kicks off on 25th November, 2017. Lajong will look to take inspiration from Aizwal’s performances from last season and give a good account of themselves.
Football in India is in rapid transition and, in all likelihood, a unified league structure will be announced in the near future. The club from the North East already has a huge fan base. However, in the ISL, the alliances will be divided between Lajong and North East United FC. In such a scenario, Lajong’s effort to have a faithful fan base is indeed commendable.