Javier Tebas: 'LaLiga will grow in India as football will grow in India'

The LaLiga president is optimistic about the league's growth in the near future.

Javier Tebas feels reaching out to more individuals is one of the keys to increase the popularity.   -  Getty Images

Brand awareness and growth. These are the buzzwords of LaLiga president Javier Tebas as the league attempts to establish a growing presence among the football-loving populace of India.

Tebas has overseen a number of initiatives for India, including establishing a tie-up with Facebook to live-stream LaLiga matches for Indians, and building a football academy in Anantapur, Andhra Pradesh. Last year, the famed El Clasico was even played at a time that suited the Indian audience.

Tebas terms it simply as getting “closer to the Indian fans.”

“What we see in the surveys that we see in the market is that the fans are really positive about the brand of La Liga and they value it. Now that we’re partnering with Facebook and still have matches on Sony (broadcaster), we want to be closer to Indian fans and grow the league even more,” he told Sportstar.

Encouraged by the response of Indian fans in the last three years, Tebas is optimistic about its growth in the near future. “We have seen growth in the value of the brand of LaLiga and the awareness of the LaLiga brand and awareness of the competition,” he declared.

He later added, “We see that La Liga will grow in India as football will grow in India.”

Presence in the grassroots development is important as well, Tebas said. “It’s important to reach more of the individuals in the country with the academies and with the schools, and not only LaLiga, some of our clubs have schools. Atletico Madrid is going to have schools in India as well, to reach more people,” he declares.

The league’s strategy is also to internationalise itself beyond the confines of Spain or India. Talking about the decision to play an official LaLiga match — Girona vs Barcelona — in Miami, U. S., Tebas said, “The official match of LaLiga is much more exciting than a friendly, so we want to bring an official match to our fans internationally. There are other big competitions like the NBA [and] the NFL — they are doing this and [hosting] league matches abroad to help them grow and their brand.”

Tweaking timings for the television audience hasn’t impeded the reception among local fans, Tebas points out. “The attendance — over four years — has grown by about 20 percent. So, the strategy has worked for both purposes. Many people around the world watch many of our matches of La Liga, at the same time more people have come to the stadium,” he said.

In India in the near future, fans will get the opportunity to watch their stars live, in friendly matches between LaLiga and Indian clubs. Tebas announced, “Every post season or pre season you would see clubs travel to India to play friendly matches. A minimum of three matches every year.”

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