Spanish La Liga's head of operations in India Jose Cachaza is extremely confident that sub- continent giants India will be the biggest market for branding in the sport of football in the near future.
A recent study by Indian research organisation Velocity MR after the FIFA World Cup in Russia revealed fans are growing more interest in India's national football team as 84% of respondents claimed that they will support the Indian team in their upcoming matches.
With La Liga's huge fan base already existent in India thanks to Real Madrid and Barcelona, Cachaza believes that global footballing brands will be extremely interested in the Indian market as more and more football fans are now actively involved in the sport.
Speaking to news website The Drum, Cachaza began by revealing India's importance to his objective as he said, "India is one of our international strategic markets and we understand that interest of business in India is more as a future market than a present market. Nobody can overlook the fastest economy in the world, along with the fact that football is growing rapidly in the Indian market. Cricket is a religion in India, but football does come second."
He was then asked as to what steps are being undertaken to further boost the love for football in India. Cachaza replied, "We are following a 360 strategy and for us digital strategy is fundamental because it allows us to connect directly to the fans."
He continued, "We are taking lot of attention to it as it shows that two years ago we had just 300,000 followers on social media and right now we have above 3.3 million, so that’s 3.3 million fans with whom we have direct relationship and they get information of us and also we get feedback from them."
Revealing the events that La Liga will be carrying out in the near future, Cachaza revealed, "We are organising the next live screening of El Clasico on Sunday 28th October at East Bengal Maidan in Kolkata, after seeing the success the past two years in Mumbai and New Delhi where we had over 20,000 fans come to watch the best match and the best footwork on Earth. We are expecting a huge turnout in Kolkata now as we are going for the first time to the modern land of Indian football."
Also talking about the legends that will be visiting India for the El Clasico screening, Cachaza said, "We bring our legends to India to interact with the media and fans here. In these past 2-3 years, we had Fernando Morientes, Luis Garcia, Gianluca Zambrotta, Gaizka Mendieta and now we have Robert Pires here. Steve McManaman is coming to watch the El Clasico with Indian fans."
These are great signs of a promising future for football in India. With more and more fans and players joining the beautiful game in our country, programmes and plans like these could go a long way in securing India's prime objective of having a strong backbone and setup for domestic football.