LaLiga’s international expansion continues apace and it now has a sixth base of operations overseas, namely in India. Javier Tebas today officially inaugurated the organisation’s New Delhi office, whose chief aim is to boost LaLiga’s presence and reach in a country with a population of almost 1.3 billion. The LaLiga president was joined at the opening ceremony by Vicente Casado, LaLiga’s managing director of international development, and by LaLiga ambassador Fernando Morientes. Also in attendance were the Spanish ambassador to India, Magdalena Cruz; the secretary general of the All India Football Federation (AIFF), Kushal Das; NP Singh, the CEO of Sony Pictures Networks India, LaLiga’s broadcaster in India; and Gaurav Modwel, the CEO of the club FC Pune City. The proceedings were held at New Delhi’s ITC Maurya Hotel.
The Spanish Davis Cup team, who are in India for a World Group playoff that gets underway on Friday, were also on hand to witness the launch of LaLiga’s new office. Rafa Nadal, David Ferrer, Feliciano Lopez, Marc Lopez and captain Conchita Martinez have all been in Delhi since Monday and had no intention of missing the event. Miguel Diaz, the president of the Spanish Tennis Federation, headed the expedition.
Javier Tebas enthused about the opening of this new office and the impact it will have for LaLiga: “It means a lot; this is one of the most important days in LaLiga’s history. Being present in India is very important to us. We have been working hard towards this for a while and have even made changes to kick-off times with Indian fans in mind. I want to highlight the efforts of Sony, our broadcaster in this country. We’ve got to grow together if we are to become the best. I hope that our new office will enable us to achieve our dreams.”
The LaLiga president also shed some light on what the new office will be working on: “We want to share our knowledge with India’s young people and we will also be contributing to training coaches. That will play an important role for us and the future of Indian football alike.”
The Spanish ambassador to India, Magdalena Cruz, expressed her delight at LaLiga’s decision to open a base in the Asian country, which has established itself as the world’s seventh largest economic power: “I wish to welcome the opening of the LaLiga office in India. It’s great news that the best league in the world, featuring some of the biggest clubs on the planet, has taken this step to move closer to the people of this country.” Meanwhile, LaLiga ambassador Fernando Morientes highlighted the importance of LaLiga on the international stage, offering a reminder that the league represents the best competition in the world, before adding that, “India is a very important destination in LaLiga’s development and it’s a pleasure for us to be here.”
Fans of LaLiga in India will be able to follow the competition courtesy of Sony, whose CEO, NP Singh, is in no doubt as to just how successful the product will prove to be: “We’re very happy to be expanding throughout India with the help of LaLiga. With LaLiga on board, we now offer coverage of football from the best league in the world. I want to welcome them to this new office. I’m sure that this will represent an important step for the development of the competition in our country.” In what was the final address of the day, Gaurav Modwel, chairman of LaLiga’s local partner agency, India on Track, expressed his satisfaction at the opening of the office: “It’s one of the best followed leagues on the planet. It’s great news that they’ve decided to open this office, which, without any doubt, will play an important role in bringing the fans closer to the action.”
The statistical information relating to football in India reflects the considerable social interest in the sport throughout the nation. The average profile of football viewers evidences the market’s massive potential for growth. Of particular note is the even gender balance in viewing figures, with men representing 53% of the audience and women the remaining 47%. In total, 75% of the football viewing audience are aged between 18 and 44, with over 85% of them students or trained professionals with high purchasing power. In terms of the devices used to watch football, studies show that around 53% of spectators tune in to the TV, whilst 24% use a PC/laptop and the remaining 23% catch the action on their smartphones or tablets.
LaLiga now has six international offices in all, with its base in India joining the ones in the United States, South Africa, Dubai, Nigeria and China.