The sport is constantly growing in the country and has seen huge progress especially in terms of its digital engagement.
Football is one of the most followed sports among the Indian youth with plenty of crazy fans of the beautiful game. The support for their favourite clubs both – local and international, extends beyond the pitch as well with people regularly checking-in and following their players’ and clubs’ daily activities.
Club football in India is growing with major developments in sight both – on and off the pitch, one of those being their huge fan-following. Today, we will take a look at five clubs who have the highest following among fans in Indian football.
5. FC Goa
FC Goa have been one of the most consistent sides in the Indian Super League since 2014. The Gaurs have featured in two finals, eventually losing out to Chennaiyin FC in 2015 and Bengaluru FC in 2018 respectively.
Their passion for the game, smart hiring over the years and performances on the pitch born the fruit as they became the first Indian football club to qualify for the group stage of the AFC Champions League in 2019-20.
Their success in the league endeared them to fans all over the country and it is reflected in their followers count on social media. FC Goa have accumulated a total of 1.04 million followers including more than 448,000 followers on Facebook; 333,000 on Twitter and over 260,000 followers on Instagram.
The only thing missing from their cabinet though is an ISL trophy and winning it will sure win them a few more in the upcoming years as they continue their path to success.
4. Chennaiyin FC
Chennaiyin FC come fourth on the list with a cumulative count of 1.55 million followers on social media. The club is well-supported in the city as well as across India and it is their performances on the pitch and their fan-engagement that has won them hearts in the process.
The side from the South-East coast has two ISL titles to its name and has made it to the play-offs stages four times in six ISL seasons. Some dramatic wins over the years have endeared them to the local faithful as well.
The Marina Machans almost bagged their third ISL title last season in a miraculous fashion as they rose from bottom of the table on match day 5 to making it all the way to the final. Their sensational upturn in form made them a prominent figure among fans and won a lot of hearts with their spirited performances.
3. Quess East Bengal
East Bengal have always been one of the most prominent clubs in Indian football, possessing rich history that dates back to pre-independence times. The club have a highly-decorated trophy cabinet having won the IFA Shield 29 times, Durand Cup 19 times and the Calcutta Football League 39 times.
Their success and craze for football in Kolkata has won them hundreds of thousands of fans on social media. East Bengal are the third most-followed club in India and are the most-followed on Facebook with 1.3 million people, they also have more than 240,000 followers on Twitter and about 61,000 followers on Instagram.
It is no surprise that ATK are one of the most followed clubs in India. The club has the record of most ISL titles after winning thrice in six seasons since the ISL’s inception.
They have been home to some legendary players like Luis Garcia, Robbie Keane to current players like David Williams and Roy Krishna. Their recruitment strength combined with the passion of their fans have catapulted them to the levels of success we denote them with.
ATK’s success has won them 1.67 million followers in total on social media with the Kolkata club having a million followers on Facebook, over 470,000 followers on micro-blogging site Twitter and close to 200,000 followers on Instagram.
Recently, ATK announced their merger with fellow I-League champions Mohun Bagan. After their success in the league last season, they have qualified for the group stage of the AFC Cup in 2021. Bowing into the continental competition will further boost their social media followers in the coming months.
1. Kerala Blasters
It would’ve been evident by now that only Kerala Blasters could’ve topped the list of the most-followed clubs on social media.
The club’s home stadium in Kochi is always packed and leads to an electric atmosphere with vociferous fans. Not just at home, the Yellow Army can always count on the Manjappada to be on their back wherever they go. It is a testament to the unbridled love that the people from God’s Own Country possess for the beautiful game.
While they have twice reached the ISL finals previously, their performances in the recent couple of seasons have been rather woeful. The team has struggled to live up to the lofty expectations of the fans. Possessing great talent in their squad, they will have to gel together and work towards punching above their weight in the ISL in the upcoming seasons.
Yet, that hasn’t affected their standing on social media, being followed by a whopping 1.1 million people on Facebook, 1.8 million on Twitter and 1.4 million on Instagram accumulating to 4.3 million people. The players will hope they can stay true to the amazing support that they receive from the fans and provide more reasons for the ever-loyal fans to continue cheering and supporting.