Although cricket remains the most popular sport in India, football also has many fans. Among football competitions, the English Premier League attracts the most attention from Indian fans and this is understandable: huge financial resources are invested in this championship every year and its management regularly works to make the EPL an increasingly attractive league, thus constantly expanding its fan base.
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This Manchester club has the largest fan base in India. No EPL team can match the popularity that Manchester United enjoys in this country. The Red Devils’ popularity in India has been building for forty years, reaching its peak under Sir Alex Ferguson, who led the team to win 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups and two Champions League titles. However, since the legendary Scot left the club in 2013, Manchester United’s results have deteriorated significantly and popularity has plummeted. Despite this, MU remains the most popular football club in India.
Arsenal’s golden era came in the 90s and early 2000s. Just think of the Canaries’ duels with Manchester United and the iconic confrontations between Arsene Wenger and Sir Alex Ferguson. Players like Thierry Henry, Patrick Vieira, Robert Pires and many other players from that team enamoured fans from all over the world, including India.
Although the club suffered a slump in the last years of Wenger’s reign and in the subsequent seasons after the Frenchman’s departure, current coach Mikel Arteta is keen to restore the London team to its former glory. Early signs of a revival are evident, but it is too early to draw long-term conclusions. Nevertheless, there is a chance that under the Spaniard’s leadership Arsenal will regain their former condition and become a formidable rival in the EPL again, as well as improve their results in the European Cup.
Liverpool didn’t win their first English Premier League title until the 2019/20 season, but this team has always been able to deliver unforgettable emotions, which is why they have long been a popular favourite. A dramatic Champions League victory in 2005, followed by another triumph in 2019, cemented their reputation as a team that stirs the hearts of fans. In recent years, Liverpool have started to gain momentum again, which has attracted the attention of the younger generation of fans as well.
Unlike the above teams, Chelsea’s path to worldwide fame began after 2003, when the club was acquired by Roman Abramovich. The Russian oligarch immediately started investing crazy money in the London club, and as a result, success didn’t last long. Since then, Chelsea have won every possible official trophy, quickly gaining popularity, especially thanks to winning the Champions League in 2012 and 2021. Despite the Blues’ current problems under the new owners’ reign, everyone believes that these are only temporary difficulties and a return to the top awaits the club in the near future.
Until 2008, Manchester City was a relatively unremarkable club until a takeover by a group led by Sheikh Mansour propelled it to the forefront of English football. This trajectory, somewhat similar to Chelsea’s, has seen the club win numerous Premier League titles and other trophies, including the much coveted Champions League trophy. City’s popularity is growing by the day, and head coach Pep Guardiola keeps the public entertained: his team not only produces results, but also impresses with their style of play. And not for nothing the bookmaker considers Manchester City the favourite to win the EPL again.
Another team that has garnered considerable support in India is Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs may not have the trophy-laden history of some other clubs, but their consistently competitive nature and exciting style of play have won them many fans. The presence of star players like Harry Kane and Son Heung-min has contributed significantly to their global appeal. Tottenham’s journey to the Champions League final in 2019 marked a high point in their recent history, further solidifying their Indian fan base.
The EPL and Indian Broadcast Media
The reach of English Premier League in India is further fueled by extensive coverage by Indian broadcast media. Televised matches, accompanied by in-depth analysis and commentary in local languages, have played a pivotal role in attracting Indian fans to the game. The digital era has further facilitated this through live streaming services, making EPL matches accessible to fans across the country.
Indian Footballers and the EPL
The prospect of Indian footballers playing in the English Premier League is another factor contributing to the league’s popularity. While no Indian player has featured in the EPL so far, the growing interest and investment in football in the country have sparked hopes. The success of Indian players in other international leagues has further fueled these aspirations.
Betting and EPL Popularity
Betting platforms are also contributing to the growing popularity of EPL in India. The app offers a variety of betting options, allowing enthusiasts to engage more deeply with the matches. This increased engagement further intensifies the connection fans have with their favorite teams, adding an additional layer of excitement and anticipation to every game.
Future of Football in India
The ever-increasing popularity of the EPL in India is a testament to the potential growth of football in the country. As more resources are invested in grassroots football and more young talent is nurtured, the future of football in India looks promising. The continued support for EPL teams could potentially catalyze a football revolution in India, marking the beginning of a new era for the sport.
In conclusion, the popularity of EPL teams in India is multifaceted, rooted in historical connections, thrilling performances, and the mutual exchange of culture and values. As the EPL continues to enchant Indian fans, the symbiotic relationship between the league and its supporters in India is set to flourish, further embedding football into the cultural fabric of the country.