American Football is one of the biggest sports in the world in terms of both market cap and fan base. With an estimate of 400 million fans, the sport sits on 9th place most popular sport in the world, but a large portion of its fans come from North America, Europe, and Australia.
Considering that the fan base of American Football is heavily concentrated, the sport holds huge growth potential when it comes to attracting new fans. In the past couple of years, the NFL has made a huge commitment to spreading the game to every section of the world.
Even without a football team overseas, the league has recorded steady growth in the number of television networks that broadcast the sport in places like Japan and India.
Even though the sport is universally popular, some sports are played differ significantly by country. For example, the NFL is considered the national game in America, whereas soccer is more prevalent in Europe.
India on the other hand has been leading with its cricket base for many years, but how does the country accept other sports, like American Football?
Well, the situation with American Football in India is not bright at the moment. People are still focusing on non-contact sports with a ball and bat or stick rather than going on a full-collision mode like American Football.
One of the problems with American Football in the country is the unfamiliarity with the sport. As we mentioned before, NFL broadcasters just started to show up in India where people can watch live games, and possibly learn more about how they are played and the whole culture behind the sport.
When it comes to accepting foreign sports in the country the situation is much more difficult than most people think. It is not only about if the sport is appealing for the people in the country, it’s more about the infrastructure and the system that creates athletes capable of building their own league.
Can Football Become Popular In India?
India has a long way to go until American Football starts growing some roots. They need proper infrastructure, and more availability for American Football just to kick start its potential of becoming a bigger sport in the country.
You cannot expect to see local American Football matches when there are few or no youth American Football development programs in the country.
However, despite the lack of availability of the sport, India managed to form their professional American Football league back in 2011.
Now the league has 23 franchises spread through south Asia (20 India, 2 Sri Lanka, 1 Pakistan). Its first regular season started the year after, and AFLI games were broadcast on television in India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. This represented a potential audience of over 500 million viewers.
However, despite its potential to become something big, the league has had only one season till now and the project is currently frozen.
With that said, the situation with American Football in India is not great, but the country shows huge potential for the growth of the sport. Currently, American Football is more popular as a spectator sport, where people enjoy televised coverage of big events that take place in the United States.
Since American Football is available to watch in India, local bookmakers started including the sport, and it is a popular addition to online sportsbooks for Indians to bet on. So, while you wait for it to become trendy in India, you can check how to bet on NFL games online: 5 tips and strategies here.
At this stage, India doesn’t really compete or take part at any significant level in terms of the global popularity of American football. However, as the sport becomes more familiar for the locals, it is more likely that leagues will be formed.
With a population of 1.38 billion people that is constantly increasing, India is a huge superpower that can bring millions of fans to the sport and a valuable player in its global popularity. Unfortunately, that cannot happen right now, and we have to wait and see if the locals change their views on American Football in the near future.