India is no stranger to football. But not everyone watches Indian soccer tournaments as much as today, thanks to the India Super League. You might think that it’s another version of a sports league from a different country, but ISL particularly has an important part in the country’s growing interest in soccer.
From having 5,000 people attending the ISL, it grew to 23,000 audiences as average. And that’s only the count for people who watch the event in person. You can just imagine how much more Indians and non-Indians watch the event. If you want to know more about the ISL, stick around.
The Indian Super League
The Indian Super League (ISL) is an enormous football competition in the country. It aims to build a stronger player base for the country, by providing some of the highest standards similar to major competitions to its players. It lasts for four months, which is pretty short compared to some sports leagues which last for a year. The said Indian football league is also known to attract foreign competitors, as well as investors. The reason for this doesn’t only have to do with the competition’s prestige, but its advocacies as well.
Part of its goals, aside from sustainability, is to provide better infrastructure like stadiums, arenas, among other soccer-identified venues for Indian soccer players to use. Considering how big of a country India is, and how the ISL is only but a single football championship, it aims to spread the revenues and projects it gets around the country.
Every ISL, the fans are always excited for the intense competitions Indian players have among themselves, plus some big foreign names who join the league. The organizing committee preserves how the league feels like a major international event through some of the rigorous training mechanisms, credible coaches, up-to-date equipment, and quality players.
As a business?
While the league is known for cultivating the country’s appreciation for soccer, there are still questions and backlash that the Indian Soccer League receives. It’s not surprising that sports leagues are always associated with making a profit. The world’s more prestigious sports league–the English Premier League–is bound to its business investors and commercial behavior. It takes the best players in soccer and pits them against each other in one event, and people like watching it so they pay.
But for India, the said league has been a bastion for soccer development. This aspect of the ISL being commercialized raises questions about the motivations of the organizing team, and whether soccer development is their primary advocacy. The soccer league became a business entity, which results in the barring of newcomers to the Indian soccer field, and the gatekeeping of players with less financial capacity.
But the ISL is also on a tightrope because compared to before, commercialization brings more reach for the league. It means they’re able to carry out giving subsidies and scholarships to those who need them, through major sponsorships and investors who make the ISL a business. So, even though the league is admittedly a business, it still tries to hold on to one of its goals, which is to develop soccer in India.
Indian Super League as revolutionary
The Indian Super League may not be as great as other sports leagues or as perfect as other development and inclusive efforts to have people play in it. But the reason why it became a stronghold for Indians to play and get better at the sport is because of the many rewards and recognition that players are starting to get.
ISL India paved the way for providing the funds and media spotlight that players and the event need to become sustainable. Bollywood stars and other foreign investors came into the picture and gave those, making ISL a dream for the young Indian soccer enthusiast and player.
And because of a huge fan base from the very beginning, ISL was able to easily gain profit from building football infrastructure in the country, which helped so many clubs to establish their names in the field and compete.
The league has also provided avenues for those in the grassroots and younger demographics to have access to and appreciate the sport. Part of the championship’s revenue goes to its grassroots program, where more than millions of Indian kids register to receive training in the sport, all for free.
Lastly, the ISL continues to attract so many personalities in the field of soccer to come to the country and play. Not only does this provide more exposure to the different playing styles of Indians, but it also provides avenues for rising potentials to be seen and recruited in different countries. For instance, Gurpreet Singh Sandhu and Subrata Pal were given contracts to play for clubs in countries in Europe and Brazil, respectively.
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