What is your first association with India? It’s its population, right? It’s massive in terms of population.  This makes it a great market for various types of business. Soccer is one of the globe’s most popular sports. But, how great is its influence in this Asian country? Well, you’d be surprised to hear that soccer or football is not the most popular sports activity in India. Throughout the world, this is the activity that most kids love to enjoy, and that adults love to watch. India is a different story. We could argue that due to its history, it is no wonder that this one is not the most dominant sport.

India possesses a long history and much of it is tied to Europe. As you probably know this land was a British colony for a long time. What this created is a massive British influence that is felt even today. While football as it’s called in the UK remains the most popular sport on the Island, British colonizers brought another activity with them to India. That’s right, we are writing about cricket. Because of cultural differences, soccer never became the country’s most touted sport. This begs a question. How popular is the sport of soccer in India? Let’s talk about this a little bit.

The Most Popular Sports in India

Source: bcci.tv

You don’t even have to ask. India is famed for its love for cricket. This activity is by far the largest draw in India. This has been the situation in India for a very long time. Things are not going to change any time soon. This is a sport that most people love to watch, that kids play everywhere, and that brought out a few of the most massive sports superstars India has ever seen. It’s the most promoted and sponsored activity in the land. Taking its throne is going to be difficult. The fame of this activity was established with two World Cup wins. The most recent one happened in 2011. India is also a top draw in the world of cricket. Very few of the world’s best of all time come from India. Even casual sports fans have heard of Rahul David and Anil Kumble. So, you understand, this is by far the top sport in this area of the world. But, where does that put soccer?

How Rated is Soccer in India?

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We are discussing one of the top global sports. It is present in all parts of the globe. Everyone plays it in Asia, Africa, the Far East, and Secluded West. It is viewed in Antarctica and Alaska alike. India is no exception. Yes, cricket jealousy holds the No. 1 spot as far as sports go in the land of Bengal tigers, but the race has a close second. For a while now it has been titled one of the three most viewed sports in the land of Maharaja. It holds a massive viewership and many people tend to participate in the events tied to it. It is popular among the youth and we have youngsters from India wanting to train and become footballers more than ever.

This is no surprise as we’re speaking about a global phenomenon. Talking about the professional league is a toddler in India. Indian Super League is one of the youngest competitions in professional soccer. It was established back in 2014. But, the country quickly turned professional and the competition was rich enough to attract a few premium players throughout the years. Yes, many of them were on the back end of their careers but Indian soccer fans were still able to enjoy the likes of Alessandro Del Piero and David Trezeguet and Robert Pires.

In recent years India also worked on its infrastructure making the sport more popular than ever. Due to its development, the land was able to host two international tournaments. They have hosted the U-17 World Cup in 2017 and U-17 Women’s World Cup in 2022. Both tournaments are organized by FIFA and India proved that they know how to host events of this magnitude tied to soccer. In the coming years, we can expect them to compete to host a major tournament for senior teams.

Another thing that brought the eyes of India to soccer is its most recent boom in terms of popularity. The last fifteen years or so of the game were dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. These two brought the play to the most secluded parts of the Earth. Due to social media platforms, CR7 is the world’s most recognizable athlete. The exploits of these two athletes are followed with attention in India even today when they’re on the back end of their careers. The chances are slim we’re going to see them playing in India any time soon, but one can hope.

Due to the attention, these two brought to Spanish soccer La Liga picks are one of the most sought-after gambling activities in India. That’s right. With the growth of the sport’s popularity in one of the planet’s most populated countries the desire to bet on soccer has grown exponentially. Today you have various sports betting operators conducting their work in India. We can only expect that the sport’s popularity will expand in the future. Will it surpass cricket? We don’t think so, but anything is possible. What about other sports? Is soccer threatened for its No. 2 spot in India?

Other Sports With a Presence in India

Source: reuters.com

So, the hierarchy is there. It’s been there for a while. Cricket holds the No. 1 spot in this country. Soccer holds the second one. What about other sports? Well, there are plenty of sports to go around in India. Most of them threaten soccer for the premium No2 position. While it remains the second most popular sport in the land there are more individuals out there playing badminton. India remains peculiar on the list of activities they adore. High in the rankings is field hockey. It is a national sport in the country. They’re one of the global powers in this sport with a few Gold medals from the Olympics. Last but not least, the sport that tops the popularity rankings among sports in India is Kabaddi. This is a home-grown sport that includes a lot of contacts. It is truly a peculiar one. You can go down this rabbit hole if you want. We’ll stick to soccer for now.