Soccer World Cup Takes Second Place to Cricket in India

12 June 2006

Across the globe - save for its most populous democracy, India - soccer mania in the shape of the World Cup has reached epidemic proportions. But sanity prevails in the planet's oldest civilization, where corporate promotional activity is all but ingnoring the soccerfest.

Even major local sponsors like Adidas and Hyundai have largely eschewed the World Cup and have no major plans to send top customers or even dealers to the otherwise most-viewed event in the world sporting calendar.

In marked contrast to the torrent of interest during major cricket tournaments, India, which is not competing in the soccerfest, remains cool towards World Cup sponsorships and promotions.

Although its current economic growth rivals that of China, football hardly exists as a professional sport in India and is dwarfed by the national enthusiasm for cricket.

No matter what Ronaldinho or Beckham may achieve in Germany, on the subcontinent more eyeballs are fixed to TV screens watching national cricket team captain Rahul Dravid and his men in blue beating the daylights out of the Caribbean national side.

Despite India's enthusiasm for its national sport, many less enlightened beings will agree with the late Lord Mancroft's definition of the game: "Cricket: a game which the English, not being a spiritual people, invented in order to give themselves some conception of eternity."

Data sourced from The Times of India; additional content by WARC staff