Fledgling league attracts more fans than all leagues barring, Germany, England and Spain.
It’s only been around a few weeks but already the Indian Super League (ISL) has become the fourth most popular in the world, surpassing Italy’s Serie A in terms of average attendance.
The (ISL) has sought to emulate the success of cricket’s IPL, luring former international veterans such as Sweden’s Freddie Ljungberg, France’s David Trezeguet and Italy’s Alessandro Del Piero for the 10-week competition.
The league, played around the country, has been hit by injuries to some of its biggest stars, while some football experts have questioned the quality of the matches.
But organisers said more than one million fans have turned out, with an average match attendance of 24,357, making it the fourth most popular football league behind Germany’s Bundesliga, the English Premier League and Spain’s La Liga and ahead of Serie A.
“We have always believed that the sport of football, if given the right platform, has the potential for tremendous growth in India,” an ISL spokesman said.
India, a cricket-mad country, has struggled to make inroads in the world of football, but there are hopes that the ISL will capture a new marekt for the sport in India.
FIFA chief Sepp Blatter has described the world’s second most populous country the sleeping giant of football.
Top 5 attendances:
1 Germany 43,499
2 England 36,670
3 Spain 26,955
3 India 23,310
5 Italy 20,953