ISL 2017: ATK installed 35,000 flags around Salt Lake Stadium for fans attending the Delhi Dynamos game
ATK have come under the scanner as their fan-interaction initiative seems to have received some flak, with the club being accused of using goodie-bags to entice the supporters to the stadium.
After images of, what seemed to be ATK-coloured bags, on every seat at the Salt Lake Stadium started doing the rounds on social media, football fans in the city of Kolkata had begun the age-old debate of how traditional clubs like Mohun Bagan and East Bengal do not need to resort to such measures to attract fans.
However, the actual case seems to have been something else altogether. ATK officials confirmed to Sportskeeda that they had this was a part of one of their fan-interaction initiative. The club had put 35,000 flags on the bucket seats at the Salt Lake Stadium for their home match against Delhi Dynamos.
The aim of this move, according to the club officials, was to give something back to the fans, who won't have to spend extra on buying flags. Incidentally, a number of supporters from of the fan clubs had even come to the stadium hours before ATK's Saturday night match against Delhi Dynamos, to help the club set up the flags on every seat.
ATK's home, the Salt Lake Stadium, had its capacity reduced from 85,000 to 66,600, earlier this year after the arena went through major changes ahead of the FIFA U17 World Cup. As a result of the renovations, the Kolkata side had to shift their base to the Rabindra Sarobar Stadium in the southern parts of the city last season, a move that saw a sharp drop in their attendance.
Even a return to the Salt Lake Stadium did not seem much rise in the attendance, especially with the defending champions failing to win any of their first four matches is ISL 2017.
While this attendance has risen from last season, there seems to be plenty of seats that need to be filled on matchdays. It will be interesting to see what new methods the club comes up to help the fans make it to the stadiums and cheer the defending champions on.