The English Premier League is always a major event in the football calendar, but it’s not just British fans of the sport that get excited for the games to kick off. One place that you might not expect the English Premier League to be so popular in India. India actually has their own Premier League, but a lot of Indian football fans would rather watch the English games instead. A study of Indian football fans showed the greatest awareness was towards the English Premier League, with 79% of football fans choosing to follow it. So what is it that makes the English Premier League so popular in India?
A Love Of All Things British
One of the most obvious reasons is of course the familiarity that many Indians have with British culture. By the time India achieved independence from Britain in the late 1940s, the country had been under British rule for nearly 100 years and in that time a lot of British customs had merged with Indian culture. While India has been independent for over 70 years, many Indians still feel a familiarity with British culture and because of this they enjoy watching the league matches.
They Just Love The Game
Another potential reason for the Indian love of English Premier League is quite a unique one. According to an Indian Quora user, the way that the commentating of the game is done for British matches is different, and a lot of Indians prefer this style. During British football matches the commentators are usually based somewhere within the stadium. This allows them to react to what is happening during the game but also to the crowd. You can hear the roar of the crowd in the background when their team is doing well and the fans’ enthusiasm feeds back into the commentators which makes it more interesting to watch. In other leagues it’s quite normal to have the commentators sitting in a room watching the game on a screen and talking about what’s happening, which not only makes the commentary a little delayed but gives too much separation, there’s less atmosphere and in general makes it less interesting to watch.
It’s Accessible For All
Another reason for the fascination with the English (and to some extent European) Premier League is that the timing of the matches is a lot better. Most English Premier League games are played on the weekends around 5pm, or at the very least on a weekday evening. The time difference means that Indians can expect to watch English football matches around 9pm local time which fits in well with their schedule.
Indian work most of the week and a lot of workers only get Saturday evenings and Sundays off. Football matches starting at 9pm allows Indians the chance to watch the game at a bar with friends so it’s as much of a social thing as it is for English people. It means that so many of the Premier League 2021 upcoming matches are watchable by everyone, even those who might work long hours. This means it becomes an event everyone can enjoy and it is that what helps it to be continuously popular.
Part of the reason for the English Premier League being so popular is that it’s somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Many Indians became fascinated with English football during the David Beckham era. To this day, Manchester United is often quoted as one of the favourite football teams in India, largely due to the popularity of Beckham. Because so many Indians were fans of Manchester United, local TV channels started to feature more English football matches (including the Premier League). More Indians started to watch the Premier League because it was on TV, and in turn the league’s popularity grew even more across India.
There are many reasons why Indian football fans are so fascinated by the English Premier League – these are just a few of the most widely documented suggestions for it’s popularity. Ultimately it’s a case of smaller factors snowballing into a national obsession – football is exciting whatever country it’s in, but when you feel an affinity to the culture it’s even better