5 Reasons why we should watch the ISL
The third season of the Indian Super League (ISL) is almost upon us. But ever wondered why the ISL should matter to the average Indian citizen? Or why should the European football watching enthusiast care about the ISL? Here is why we should watch ISL.
1) Presence of big names
With the advent of the ISL, Indian football fans have had the opportunity to witness some of the best footballers of the generation, live. While earlier, they had to be content with the likes of Barreto and Odafa plying their trade, now they could actually watch the likes of Roberto Carlos and Marco Materazzi.
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Continuing in the same trend, this time too there is no dearth of big names. Heider Postiga and Florent Malouda are back as the marquee players of Atletico de Kolkata and Delhi Dynamos respectively.
However, the biggest news is undoubtedly Mumbai City’s signing of Diego Forlan. The 2010 World Cup Golden Ball winner should be able to bums on seats
2) Much less time consuming
India is undoubtedly more famous for cricket. However, with the advent of technology and booming economies, it is also true that that millennials can spare much lesser time than their ancestors.
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This is where football steps in. An entire match gets over within a span of two hours. Even the shortest form of cricket, T20, takes as much as 3 hours.
This has resulted in the ISL becoming the 4th most watched league in the world. Ahead of the likes of Germany’s Bundesliga.
3) Thrilling contests
The last two seasons have seen some spell binding action. An eager audience, hungry for quality football, has lapped it up. This has resulted in surprisingly high audiences and viewerships.
The 2014 season had seen Chennaiyin and Goa dominate the league stage. Kolkata and Kerala just made it to the knockout stages ahead of Delhi. However, Chennaiyin and Goa were overcome by the minnows in the semi-finals. Finally, Kolkata pipped Kerala to the title.
The 2015 season too was as exciting. In contrast to 2014, the final was a 5 goal thriller which saw Chennaiyin beat Goa 3-2.
4) Presence of city loyalties
Football leagues are based on the concept of intercity rivalries. This is apparent anywhere in the world. The most famous of them all is probably the Liverpool-Manchester United rivalry.
In spite of the IPL, cricket is yet to catch up on this. People tend to support their favourite players and their teams.
Indian football rivalries too have deep roots. The East Bengal- Mohun Bagan derby brings the city of Kolkata to a standstill, in spite of little to no promotion.
The ISL provides a novel concept where fans of rival clubs team up against common enemies. For example, Bagan and east fans unite against their Goan counterparts. This makes for some riveting banter and helps promote the game.
5) An alternative to cricket
As mentioned earlier, cricket is by far the most popular sport in the country. However, it is apparent that other sports are in dire need of more support and promotion.
The ISL provides a welcome solution for the same. With the presence of marquee names to capture fans’ imagination and the prospect of top tier football, it has all the ingredients required to succeed. So come on India, Lets Football.