LaLiga eyes India’s untapped market with El Clasico in regional languages

By Hugo Barcia

New Delhi, Oct 14 (EFE).- El Clasico, the famed rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona in the Spanish soccer league, is set to be aired this week in three regional languages in India, a country of over 1.4 billion people, as LaLiga seeks to make inroads into an untapped market with tremendous potential.

The matches will now be available in Hindi, a language of 530 million people in the country and the third-most spoken language in the world; Bengali, spoken by 66 million; and Malayalam, with 30 million native speakers.

The move comes as a result of a deal last year with the Indian firm Viacom18 for broadcasting the matches in the Asian country.

The soccer rivalry between Real Madrid and Barcelona is already alive and kicking in this south Asian nation, where thousands of people follow the matches in English, the only language it is available in the region.

Starting with the broadcast of El Clasico, LaLiga has decided bet on the untapped market potential of India, where hundreds of millions of people still remain unaware of the Spanish top division soccer league, to expand viewership.

Through the competition’s “top product,” LaLiga seeks to bring Spanish soccer closer to the Indian viewers, and will organize a screening of the season’s first El Clasico in Mumbai that is expected to attract 3,000 fans, LaLiga’s India representative Jose Antonio Cachaza told EFE.

Moreover, LaLiga is carrying out contests on the Internet among fans to ensure greater engagement and spread awareness, he added.

“It’s time to make noise,” said Cachaza, further explaining that the knowledge of the Spanish league in India does not usually go beyond Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The screening will be attended by former Dutch footballer Patrick Kluivert as the chief guest.

Cachaza underlined it took hardly 24 hours for the 3,000 seats for the event to fill up, and they could have attracted double the number had it not been for the lack of space.

Another similar but “smaller” event will be organized in the western state of Goa by MTV, which broadcasts the El Clasico in English, and which will include a competition among the attendees.

LaLiga seeks to use this marquee clash between Spain’s biggest soccer giants as a springboard to promote the competition in India so that other teams too can gain a foothold among the fans.

“It would be a mistake to focus on El Clasico alone and do nothing for the rest of the year. Our job is to make noise constantly, to be in touch with the fans, conduct smaller activities for the sponsors, be in touch with broadcasters and help increase viewership,” Cachaza said.

The LaLiga representative claimed that as a result of that “noise,” the fan base of other teams have increased recently, enough to compensate for a slight fall in followers of Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Moreover, agreements have been reached with three new sponsors in India, marking a crucial step forward in a country where cricket accounts for approximately 85 percent of all sports revenue, leaving the rest to fight for what little is left of the pie.

“Soccer is not going to always remain a niche sport, it will continue to grow in India but it is a long-term job,” Cachaza said.

With the first step already taken, LaLiga is now working to ensure that broadcasts in Hindi, Bengali and Malayalam are soon extended to other matches as well, allowing Spanish soccer to consolidate presence in India. EFE


Related Articles

Back to top button