After the success of Indian Premier League (IPL) the franchise based sports leagues have become hot properties of Indian sports. We have seen similar kinds of leagues in Hockey, Badminton, Kabaddi and now Football became the latest sports to join this trend.
Football in India is like Cricket in United States of America (USA), where lot of people follow the game but not many concerned about their own country’s performance. In a diversified country like India it is not easy to attract eyeballs without any publicity stunt. And in this country publicity comes from two sources, Bollywood and Cricket.
When International Management Group (IMG) and Reliance merged together to shape this much awaited league, they knew very well only typical hardcore football connections won’t craft this event a big hit. They needed immense promotion for their newly created brand ISL.
From their association with Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) in IPL, IMG had already tasted success in similar project. So to serve their purpose, the organisers decided to nurture the IPL concept of Cricketainment (Cricket + Entertainment) and created a modified concept-Focritainment (Football+Cricket+Entertainment).
Among the current eight teams of ISL, seven have either any cricket connection or bollywood connection or even both. Delhi Dynamos is the only team which is an exception in this regard. Their main attraction is Del Piero, the World cup winning Italian footballer and a Juventus legend.
Amongst other seven teams, the North East United, Mumbai City FC and FC Pune City do-not have any cricketing tie-ups. They have Bollywood stars like, John Abraham and Ranbir Kapoor on their ranks.
So let’s have a look at the other four ISL teams which have some cricket connections.
Atletico de Kolkata: The Kolkata-based team’s co-owner is former Indian captain and undoubtedly the most famous sportsperson of Kolkata, Sourav Ganguly. An avid football lover, Ganguly was probably one of the first cricketers who decided to associate with this football venture. For Kolkata it’s a double gain, their favourite son with their favourite sport. What more can the Atletico de Kolkata fans ask for?
Kerala Blasters: Sachin Tendulkar, the most popular sporting legend of this country co-owns the Kerala team of ISL. Kerala is known for its football culture, but Sachin’s popularity in the country and in the world will earn this team some more fan-base outside its catchment area too.
Chennaiyin Fc: Indian Captain MS Dhoni’s association with the city of Chennai is quite known to all. His heroics for Chennai Super Kings (CSK) in IPL and Champion’s League T20 made him popular son of this city. And Football is one of Dhoni’s favourite games. He was a goalkeeper in his school days and whenever Dhoni finds time he plays this game. Don’t be surprised if you see Dhoni playing football with the Chennaiyin FC players in one of the practice sessions. Apart from Dhoni this team has Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan as a co-owner too.
FC Goa: Virat Kohli, the star Indian batsman co-owns the Goa-based team. Goa’s love for football is known to everyone. But now with Kohli in their ranks, their marketing strategy will be much more equipped.