Way back in the day, Indians used to eat, sleep and breathe Cricket. But, in this day and age, the popularity of other sports has begun to rapidly increase. The statistics provided by Javier Ceppi, the director of the FIFA U17 World Cup 2017, is proof of the pudding. The U17 World Cup is currently being held in India. Ceppi has claimed that the event has been more successful than the 2011 ICC World Cup in terms of spectator turn out. He says that the FIFA U17 spectator count has already broken the 8 lakh barrier.
He also added that this success could lead to India lifting the next Under-20 football World Cup. He said “This was a make or break. If you’re not able to deliver then the doors would have closed definitely. Now the doors remain open. How it’s done in the future we need to see. The possibility will be there for Indian football. At this point in time, we are looking at a record attendance here in India 2017. It’s also over with the first 36 matches of the ICC World Cup 2011 which is usually considered here as the gold standard for a World Cup in terms of attendance. We feel that really football has taken over. That’s the reality. People are coming here we have seen the enthusiasm of people that we did not foresee. We had an average crowd of 49,000 for India matches. It’s huge.”
Ceppi even claimed that there was an unprecedented demand for tickets for the final and he, himself, didn’t have one. The tickets for the final have been sold out already. It is due to be hels at the Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata. The Salt Lake Stadium has a capacity of 66,687. Despite low marketing efforts, the average turnout for the group stage matches has been more than the 2011 cricket World Cup (at this stage). Ceppi felt that all of this bodes well for the country, who have submitted a bid to host the next 2019 U-20 World Cup.