‘Eight years too brief to develop loyalty between followers and golf equipment in ISL’

Many years in the past, Jose Antonio Cachaza used to go to Atletico Madrid’s matches in Spain along with his little son. And that is how the attractive recreation turned a vital a part of their lives.

“I remember the day Fernando Torres retired. In his speech to fans, he said he became an Atletico fan because he used to go with this grandfather to the stadium,” mentioned Cachaza, the Managing Director of LaLiga India, in a chat with The Hindu right here on Wednesday.

“And that is part of our relationship with our native membership and mainly you realize that from September to June, each different Sunday or Saturday now, you go to the stadium. Always. That has been my case too, I’ve to go to the Atletico stadium with my son, now my son goes there with whoever he desires.

“That father and son relationship is quite basic in the relationship of fans and clubs.”

The Indian Super League has accomplished eight editions and Cachaza feels it’s going to take longer to construct such a loyalty.

“In eight years it’s extremely tough to develop that loyalty in India. Why do you’ve gotten that loyalty in Kolkata, that is as a result of these guys have been going to see Mohun Bagan or East Bengal matches since they had been children,” said Cachaza who was in Kochi to celebrate the Spanish premier league La Liga’s ‘five years in India’ since the opening of its India office. Incidentally, Kerala is the largest contributing market to LaLiga viewership (23%) on Viacom18 in India.

“In Kerala, Kerala Blasters is a new team but the relationship with football comes from far so it’s a different situation. So, you need to develop these loyalties.

“The ISL is in an early stage and I think it is going in the right direction. But these things take time. We (LaLiga) are celebrating our 95 th season,” he mentioned.

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“If you look back at the ISL’s beginning, the first one or two years, they did a move that, from a sports perspective, did not make much sense. Like bringing those former stars but the marketing was incredibly intelligent because it put Indian football on the world map. I mean, people were thinking ‘Wow Roberto Carlos is playing in India’, they were not thinking he cannot play.

“Now, the ISL is evolving into what seems to be a real league. May be, it doesn’t help that most of the matches are played on weekdays when it is not easy for fans to go to stadium. May be, you should look how to get closer to the fans which, may not be necessary in Kerala but in other States.”

Closer to motion

He additionally feels soccer motion must get nearer to followers.

“Many golf equipment are enjoying in cricket stadiums, they don’t seem to be the most effective for watching good soccer. You’re too far-off from the contact line. For instance, right here in Kochi, the Nehru Stadium will not be the worst however I keep in mind in Delhi, it was traumatic to observe soccer, you virtually want binoculars to see the sport,” said the Spaniard.

“So, improvement in stadia is probably something that India will have to take care of soon. I think a good example is the evolution of MLS in the US. They started playing in large NFL stadia and as soon as the league kept evolving and the finances got right, they started building smaller stadiums of 15,000, 20,000 and 25,000 and they were football-only stadiums.

“I don’t think any ISL club is playing in a football-only stadium. A football-only stadium will bring fans closer to the game and the relationship with players will be even closer. I think that will be a good step forward.”

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