Scottish Premiership soccer club, Rangers, recently announced a new strategic and commercial partnership with India’s national soccer body, the All India Football Federation (AIFF). The new partnership will see the Glaswegian giants attempt to further increase their impact and commercial ventures in India.
Rangers plan to launch a variety of programs to help support Indian soccer coaches. The areas in which Rangers aim to address include talent identification, scouting, and player analysis. A group of AIFF coaches and members will travel to Scotland to work with coaches and experience the fine soccer facilities at Rangers as a part of the program.
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Rangers have an ongoing partnership with the Indian Super League club Bengaluru FC. The new deal will further than a partnership. Rangers and Bengaluru FC began their partnership in 2019 and it remains strong three years later. The partnership aims to grow Rangers’ presence in India and to further build their fanbase. Rangers have helped Bengaluru develop grassroots soccer and youth soccer programs.
In 2020, Rangers agreed on a unique broadcast deal with Star Sports. The agreement has led to Rangers being proactive in growing their reach across Asia. In an innovative cross-promotion move, Rangers agreed a deal to show a select number of Indian Super League matches on their Facebook page in the United Kingdom. The move has allowed the Indian Super League to reach soccer fans like never before. The Indian Super League is working to increase its overseas reach and Rangers have helped the league do so.
The Indian Super League started in 2013, six years prior to Rangers’ partnership with Bengaluru FC. Even before the two soccer clubs began working together, the top flight of Indian soccer had seen growth. In recent years, the growth has been even greater for the soccer league.
Rangers are not the only European soccer club to partner with an Indian Super League team. Spain’s Atletico Madrid and City Football Group, owners of Manchester City, have both partnered with Indian teams. Borussia Dortmund has worked with Hyderabad FC with a deal that could last until 2025. Dortmund worked with Hyderabad on their soccer academy infrastructure and coaching. In 2020, FC Goa began working with Germany’s RB Leipzig to develop young players. Their partnership will end in 2023.
The number of major European soccer clubs and ownership groups working with Indian soccer teams shows potential India has as a sporting nation. Already a lead in cricket, India is a sleeping giant in terms of soccer both in player development and fans.
Corporate funding in Indian soccer has grown since the Indian Super League started. Broadcasting and presentation of matches have improved, providing fans the chance to see the best Indian players on a matchday. Thanks to strategic partnerships, the Indian Super League is growing and could be a major player in Asia. In the future, top players may skip going to the Middle East and the Far East, and choose to play in India thanks to clubs like Rangers.