India Sees Astonishing 15% Rise In Football Followers, Just 6% Behind United Kingdom: Report

The Sunil Chhetri effect has not been incorporated into the report yet, but when it does, the numbers will surely see an even bigger jump

It all started with a plea—a message without sponsors—and, as Sunil Chhetri puts it, one straight from his heart. It caused a revolution in Indian football as far as support from the audience is concerned. Chhetri managed to strike a chord with the youth who came in large numbers to see him play his 100th international game. That marked the change in Indian football but surprisingly, India already saw a major rise in people the football following even before the beginning of the Intercontinental Cup.

Nielsen Sports, a data and measurement company, ranked 30 countries on the basis of its population percentage who claimed to have an interest in the sport. India witnessed a whopping rise of 15 points (from 30% to 45%) of people interested in football.

Surprisingly, United Arab Emirates (UAE) are leading the list with 80% of people having an interest in sports claiming to be actually interested in football. And, contrary to popular belief, Brazil has seen a downfall. They have gone from 72% people interested in football down to 60%. The perceived football-crazy nation is ranked 13th among 30 countries.

According to the report, the last season of Brazilian Championship recorded a meagre average attendance of 16,418. The footfall depended on factors like the importance of the match, teams involved, kickoff time and the weather.

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UAE is followed by Thailand and Chile (78%), Portugal and Turkey (75%). A modest rise was seen in China (27 to 32%) and US (28 to 32%) as well. Whereas, the United Kingdom (UK) did not see a rise despite having the English Premier League (EPL) as they stand at 51%.