BLOG | by Joseph Eapen

Indian Super League attracting younger audiences in what may be breakthrough season

A definite pecking order now seems to have been established in Indian sport, according to the data we collect every day in India as part of our SportsIndex service.  As you would expect, cricket is at the top of that ranking. The percentage of Indians who have ever watched the IPL soars away at 71%. But while the IPL dominates the Indian market, it has not put other sports completely in the shade.

Our data shows that the Pro Kabaddi League makes a good showing, with nearly half of Indians having watched it at some time, while soccer continues to grow (just over a quarter of Indians having watched it).

But, as ever, headline numbers can hide a wealth of insights. For example, certain sports may of course be more popular with certain segments of a population than others. For a sponsor looking to find a specific audience, it’s always worth digging into the figures to find a good match.

We looked more closely at the Indian Super League to find out more about its following and what we found confirmed anecdotal evidence that the sport enjoys a strong following among younger people.

Take the chart above. It shows that as the season progresses, no one is following the league more than younger Indians (16-29-year-olds). Although they fell below the average Current Customer score (Did you watch or follow the ISL over the past year) between seasons, you can already see how this group is cat catching other age groups as the new season begins.

On the wider point of the league’s profile, we also asked people if they had a favourite ISL player – this is often a good indicator of how well, beyond headline awareness, a sport has penetrated a market.

In good news for the ISL, almost one in five Indians named Bengaluru captain Sunil Chhetri as their favourite player, meaning that for many members of the public, the league’s characters are breaking through.

With attendances for the new season approaching an average of 20,000 and brand recognition up, this could be a breakthrough year for the league.

Photo © Indian Super League

BLOG | by Joseph Eapen

Senior Vice President, India

Joseph has 20 years’ experience in marketing research and media measurement.  He joined YouGov Sport from Repucom where he was SVP South Asia. Prior to that, he was at Media Research Users Council (MRUC), an industry body in India, where he was CEO and responsible for the Indian Readership Survey 2010 (the largest readership study in the world). He was previously the CEO of aMap, the second largest overnight TV ratings company in the world.