Can ISL milk the FIFA World Cup cow?

Just as the world is readying itself for soccer’s biggest extravaganza, India is all set to experience football in a never-before fashion. After the Indian Premier League took the cricketing fraternity by surprise, dishing out cricket, entertainment and controversies all rolled into one, Indian perception about sports took a 360-degree flip. Indian sports got a facelift and how! It boosted the moolah pretty effectively. Players were exhibited in pools and franchisees bid for the them. The highest bid bagged the player going under the hammer. This was a novel idea for the average Indian sport fan. And it clicked.

Leaving out the controversies that the Indian Premier League was mired in, let’s not push ourselves to believe that it was not a success. In fact, despite the countless flip flops on whether even it should be allowed, the IPL was a mass hit, with people ditching their other plans to grab a mug of drinks and warm their couches for eternity. This model of commercialisation meeting sport became so popular that the other sports began to reel in the aftermath of its popularity. It is no secret that cricket is a religion in India. It became more of a craze post the IPL.

For the other sports, cricket had already won hands down even before the blitz form came into existence. The birth of the IPL was just the final nail in their coffins. This impacted the rest of the sporting fraternity so much, that each of them began devising ways of doing something very similar; of toeing the same line. The first among these sports was badminton. When the Indian Badminton league was proposed, not many were sure as to how it would pan out. Several thought provoking campaigns, especially ones in which star badminton players sported cricketing gear asked, “Is this what we need to catch your attention?” made a huge impact. This whole programme started off at root levels in schools, hoping to get the attention of the right kind of audience.

Once it got underway, it didn’t get spared of the controversies either. Be it about base price or twitter fight, even the IBL had its fair share of tiffs. But, a success it was, finding inroads into at least the badminton lovers’ TV sets. With that success story, sprung up the concept of the Indian Super League, which was already under discussion long back.  Inspired by the success of the badminton version of the IPL, ISL took its baby steps, attracting franchisees like Sachin Tendulkar, John Abraham, Salman Khan and Ranbir Kapoor.

With so many big names acting as the crowd and fan magnets, ISL, for sure has put its best foot forward. And what better time than cashing in on the the biggest soccer carnival that’s about to unfold in Brazil. Here’s hoping that India’s tryst with soccer on the bigger platform will arouse its appetite for some action-packed soccer in their own backyards. With the stars sure to make their presence felt in these encounters, the stars look bright for this league!


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