Indian cricketer Rohit Sharma has signed up to be the brand ambassador of La Liga, as he says football in the country is no longer a “sleeping giant”.
With cricket being India’s national sport, one of the sports biggest names giving his name to the Spanish top division football league is a nod to growing support for football in the country.
Speaking to The Drum last year, La Liga boss Jose Cachaza said brands are also starting to see the opportunity around football in India.
Since it launched a presence in India two years ago, the league has launched a range of promotional activities including LaLiga Football Schools, a broadcast partnership with Facebook to provide all 300+ matches for free for an Indian audience.
Jose Antonio Cachaza, managing director of LaLiga India, said: “India is a very important market for LaLiga from a global perspective, we came here in 2017 to get a better understanding of the pulse of the nation. Over the past two years, and after several ground-breaking initiatives, it is obvious that India has a huge appetite for football.
"Rohit Sharma is the perfect example of this, in spite of being the most renowned face in Indian cricket right now, he is also an ardent football and LaLiga fan. In his persona on and off the field, Rohit embodies the LaLiga standards and principles. We are elated to have him as LaLiga’s first-ever non-footballer brand ambassador and as the face of our brand in India.”
Sharma has many brand associations, including Indian sports sock brand Trusocks, a product used by both footballers and cricketers.
Sharma, said: “Football in India, is in its global growth trajectory and it is heartening to see that it is no more considered as the ‘sleeping giant’. Over the course of the past 5 years, we have witnessed significant growth in the interest of football in India. Credit must be given to everyone associated with it, including the fans.”
“I am truly delighted to be associated with LaLiga. It’s encouraging to see the Spanish giant have made inroads into the Indian football ecosystem through their grassroots programme. Personally, I see this as an interesting journey for me into the beautiful game with LaLiga. I look forward eagerly to connecting with the football fans in India.”