The Premier Futsal Masterclass in Numbers

Nilesh Deshmukh

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This year Indian sports welcomed the newest league in it’s fast-growing sports leagues portfolio – Premier Futsal. Futsal is a 5 a side indoor football game format very popular all over the world, it’s debut in India was evident with the popularity of football soaring in India because of ISL.

So, was India ready to embrace yet another IPL T20 style franchise-based football league?  I would say why not? Premier Futsal has all the qualities to become a televised sport with a mix of International footballers playing alongside Indian footballers in a fast-paced, skillful and entertaining brand of football.

Premier futsal was conceptualized by Dinesh Raj, Nithyashree Subban, Abhinandan Subramanian, Xavier Britto (Investor) and Balu Nayar. This group has managed to create a league that attracted big names from the world of football and futsal like Ronaldinho, Crespo, Scholes, Giggs and arguably one of the finest futsal player in the world – Falcao.

Was Premier Futsal a success?

Premier Futsal was a very successful event and the league racked up some impressive numbers. Here are a few numbers to ponder:

  • 4.8 million people viewed the sneak peek pre-event.
  • The live televised event had a total viewership of 13 million in its inaugural league.
  • 27.5% of Premier Futsal viewers watched Indian Premier League 2016.
  • 5.2% watched Pro Kabaddi League.

Is Premier Futsal value for money for franchise owners?

Premier Futsal also turned out to be a good investment for franchise owners with an average of INR 10 Crores per year as the franchise fee for 10 years with an opportunity to earn operating profits in 2 years. If these numbers are to be compared to Indian Super League there is a huge gap between the two leagues franchise fee, also no Indian Super League franchise has managed to earn operating profits in the third year. However, this comparison is not a fair comparison considering the formats of the game and it is unfair considering Indian Super League franchises have to develop infrastructure amongst other expenses.

Is Premier Futsal a competitor for Indian Super League?

In my opinion, Premier Futsal is not a competitor to Indian Super League. Although the common binding factor between them is football if you consider it’s format, requirements, rules, and equipment there is no similarity between the two games and leagues. Even in terms of fans – the in-stadia experience is completely contrasting.

Having said that, Premier Futsal is a perfect made for television sport which is a sponsors delight. If you couple that with a fast-growing reach in viewership (43% of the total viewership was rural) Premier Futsal has the potential to be a very successful league but it cannot be an Indian Super League killer.

The infographic this week is titled The Premier Futsal Masterclass in Numbers. These are the numbers supporting the success of the league and a masterclass for sports associations on how to create a perfect made for television sports league for the Indian market.


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