New Delhi : The Santosh Trophy is one of the premier events on the Indian football calendar. The tournament being played in New Delhi is into the quarter-final stage. But television coverage only includes the last three games, the semi-finals and the finals. Not surprising, considering the National Football League only has about 25 televised games of a total of 132 matches. "When NFL matches are not shown live on TV you cannot expect a sponsor to come up. The reason cricket is popular is because of they get TV coverage and so they have viewership," says Munal Chattopadhyay, Senior Correspondent, Aajkal. Not surprisingly there is still no sponsor for the new NFL season which starts next month. Coca-Cola has been supporting Indian football but in the last four seasons. And it is getting increasingly harder to attracts the MNC's. Sponsorship issue There was no sponsor in the 2000-2001 season and oil and public sector units had to bail out the league in the 2002-2003 season. The All India Football Federation is well aware of the problems and perhaps that is why they appointed a marketing company a few years ago. However, they don't seem to have made too much of a difference. "See today everything is related to TV, good coverage of the game, good promotion helps in getting sponsors. Unfortunately we have not had this for the last few years," says Alberto Colaco, Secretary, AIFF. The AIFF is trying to strengthen their marketing and publicity so that they can have a better TV coverage and better publicity for the tournament inorder to attract better sponsors. One of the reasons why Indian football is struggling to compete with cricket or even hockey is that it doesn't have too many stars with the exception of Baichung Bhutia. That coupled with India's disastrous performance in the world cup qualifiers, where they have lost four of the five games they have played, hasn't helped matters either.
Topics : Football