As football fever grips the world, our own sports – besides cricket, of course – in still left in the shadows. We asked a few students why FIFA has gained the popularity it has, while all other sports and leagues haven’t managed to do so.

Promotion is the key

Clearly, FIFA’s a lot of fun- there’s so much colour t in the game! It is completely action-packed. Also, the premier leagues play an important role as some of the players from such leagues are involved with the FIFA. So, when people who support these games watch FIFA, their allegiance to it automatically increases. As for the other regional games, they are neither promoted well, nor is the promotion done, adequate. This lack of promotion is also a result of people not evincing much interest in other sports.

SANJANA GANESH, II year, English Literature, Ethiraj College for Women

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Money vs. interest

We’ve seen our parents following cricket, and at some level, it caught on among us. But football, especially FIFA, became popular due to western influence. People started following Manchester United and other teams, and football gradually gained importance. Also, in a country which is cricket-crazy, when stalwarts like Tendulkar and Dravid retired, people’s focus shifted to other games, especially football. Barring cricket, none of the other sports is as popular — not much has been invested in them. I’m referring to investment not only in terms of money, but also in terms of people’s interest. \

RISHABH JAIN, Final year, B.Tech, Automobile Engineering, SRM University

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Time factor

The main reason for FIFA’s popularity is that football is a global sport played in over 170 countries. Football players like Ronaldo are idolised much more than Dhoni or Tendulkar. Also, no one today wants to watch five-day long cricket matches any more- football on the other hand is a 90-minute game with exciting twists and turns.

AAKASH MOHATA, III Year, B.Com (Correspondence), Madras University

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Lack of marketing

People don’t follow Indian football and many other games as they aren’t marketed well. With FIFA, this isn’t the case- it’s not just an event, it is a phenomenon. I grew up listening to names like Manchester United, and Barcelona, and a lot of players from these teams are a part of FIFA. Naturally, like many others, my support for it stems from there.

SUBRAMANIAN C., II Year, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, St. Joseph’s College of Engineering

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Sports and money

When it comes to the World Cup, people make it a point to keep themselves abreast with FIFA, and it also becomes the topic of discussion among their peer group. Constantly talking about it results in its popularity. Another reason why most of the other sports are sidelined boils down to sponsors. As cricket is in demand, sponsors are reluctant to invest in other sports. Also, if one were to look at FIFA and cricket, there’s a lot of entertainment involved- something lacking in sports like hockey or squash.

RAHUL RAGOTHUMAN, Final year, Automobile Engineering, Madras Institute of Technology

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Global positioning

There are a number of people who are cricket-crazy, but this kind of craze exists only in India. Football, on the other hand, is popular globally. Also, football players are accorded the status of Hollywood celebrities, and this extends to FIFA as well. What’s more, it has an excellent marketing strategy which makes it familiar to a large population with ease.

ANAND RAM, II year, Department of Mining Engineering, College of Engineering, Guindy

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Time-managed

Product positioning and branding play a huge role when it comes to the attention FIFA garners. We want to be perceived as ‘cool’ and how else to get there other than being associated with a cool brand? Regional football, on the other hand, has neither government support nor fan base- there’s barely any propaganda. Also, people focus only on cricket - there is no such thing as a cricket season, and matches are held throughout the year. But with games like hockey, matches are conducted during a particular time annually, and the sport is completely forgotten for the rest of the year.

PRIYADARSHINI S., II Year, Department of Humanities and Social Sciences, IIT-Madras

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Victim of scams

Today we live in a globalised village and the present generation’s interest in football is largely due to western influence. Until recently, this sort of craze was associated only with cricket. But after the recent spate of scams, the sport has lost some of its sheen and the youth turn to an alternative which they feel is more genuine. Little wonder that football, and consequently FIFA have become more popular.

YOUNUS AHMED, II Year, B.A Sociology, Loyola College

Keywords: FIFA World CupFIFA fever

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