Bollywood stars support ISL, will this promote or dilute the sport?
Bollywood shows passion for football in ISL. John Abraham, Abhishek Bachchan and Ranbir Kapoor hope their popularity will give a boost to the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) as well as other sports.
Indeed, we have of late noticed the attention Bollywood is paying to sports; either by becoming co-owners or brand ambassadors in tournaments like Indian Premier League (IPL), Hockey India League (HIL) or Pro-Kabaddi League.
Actors Abhishek Bachchan, John Abraham And veteran cricketer Sourav Ganguly were present and played host at the inaugural ceremony for the ISL at Vivekananda Yubabharati Krirangan.
According to Abhishek Bachchan, co-owner of Chennaiyin FC – ISL team, he always wanted to be a part of Indian football and feels passionate about it.
Claiming India has had a historical association with sports, he adds that he believes a film star’s support will help the sport become popular, which is healthy. He says that we have the wrong notion that sports is not a viable career option. The star aims that by 2026, the Indian) football team will reach the FIFA World Cup. But for that, he says we need to start today.
While Shah Rukh Khan also supports the ISL, he says it was too expensive for him to be a part of, as for him, it was Kolkata all the way and buying the league costed way too much.
Deepika Padukone, on the other hand stated the reason for not wanting a league of her own for quite the opposite reason: that she was not money-minded. Claiming not to understand business, the Bollywood beauty says she would still happily consent to becoming a brand ambassador to promote the ISL. She, too agreed that it was a good thing to glamorize sports through Bollywood stars. Boman Irani, who has loved sports since childhood, especially loves football, cricket and tennis. He, too supports the addition of star power in the ISL.
However, there are some with counter viewpoints, like Shriya Saran, the ambassador for the Indian Blind Football Team. Her fear is that bringing in celebs will dilute the importance of the sport in itself. She feels that it will become more about money than awareness, then. She, however, admits that stars investing money and time into sports could help initially, but not in the long term. According to Shriya, awareness should be targeted at schools and colleges.