How good was Sourav Ganguly's captain

Cricket stars are more expensive to advertise than old football legends

In Europe, the Indian Super League has only received attention so far because the older stars can now switch to extremely lucrative early retirement in India as well as the USA or Qatar. David Trezeguet, Joan Capdevila and Luis Garcia have already signed. Players like Freddie Ljungberg, Robert Pires and Alessandro del Piero should follow.

However, very few Indians know these names, which are famous in Europe. Robin van Persie, James Rodriguez or Thomas Müller could just as easily switch to the new league - and the sports heroes in India would continue to be called Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ishant Sharma and Virat Kohli. All cricketers.

For advertising stars, the ISL has to use cricket again. And so far, the league has succeeded at least outside of the field. When the various teams were auctioned off, two well-known cricketers got on too. Sachin Tendulkar, the most popular Indian in history after Gandhi, bought a team in his hometown of Kochi. Former national team captain Sourav Ganguly bought the team from Calcutta together with Spanish soccer champion Atletico Madrid. Tendulkar's participation was arguably the ISL's biggest commercial win to date. The little man sells better in India than Neymar in Brazil. His mere presence increases the charisma of the football league immensely. Ganguly's entry, however, shows a different method. With a big cricket name next to a big football name at its side, "Atletico de Kolkata" tries to bring India's few established football fans under one banner with the millions of cricket fans.

Both Tendulkar and Ganguly see the Indian Super League not only as a business opportunity, but also apparently as a social duty. According to his own statement, Tendulkar wants to "support other sports in India". Ganguly wants the ISL to have “an infrastructure like cricket, so that young people can have other opportunities”.

An important point. Because the hegemony of cricket also means that there is a lack of alternatives for many young athletes in India. If the ISL succeeded in making Indian football a bit more prominent, the football world would have a new source of talent. The commercial and cultural dominance of cricket is never broken in India. Ganguly, Tendulkar and Co. want to show their country that there is something else.

Now new: We give you 4 weeks of Tagesspiegel Plus! To home page