FIFA being a marquee event that happens once in four years is certainly growing in India in terms of both viewership and fan following. The non-followers also contribute to the viewership along with the core football following lot. A high quality and closely fought game will lead to a bigger audience base and this is what we should aim from this tournament.
FIFA as a property has performed well in the last two editions in India. And with the buzz around football growing in India, this edition is expected to perform even better. With Sony Six launching two football shows, there has been a huge media hype created around the game.
With properties like the IPL and now the FIFA World Cup in their kitty, this should provide the head start the channel is looking at but unlike the IPL, football is less of entertainment and is more structured. It is a game that is to be seen rather than to be spoken about.
From a marketers’ POV, a good performance by the property is good news as it opens doors to a newly found consumer passion point for them to leverage. With Sony Six tying up with restaurants like Hard Rock café football today is clearly a gen-next sport. My estimation is about a younger audience getting engaged to the sport. Eight year olds, 10 year old as well as 14 year olds have been captured by the spirit of football. And such tie ups help groups to come together and enjoy the game.
Any engaging show on football will help build hype around the sports will eventually help to increase the audience base. With a huge fan expected now, it will also help the Indian Super League which slated to begin in September. The ISL is a brilliant combination of investment and money by corporate sand celebrities. This will be a big developmental aspect for the game in India and I am sure this will go a long way in promoting the game at the grassroots level which is where most of the football fans are based.
(These are purely personal views of GroupM ESP national director - Entertainment, Sports & Live Events Vinit Karnik and indiantelevision.com does not subscribe to these views.)