Futsal – the fastest growing indoor sport in the world

According to FIFA and UEFA, the fastest growing indoor sport in the world is futsal. The sport is spreading around the world, most notably in Asia and Europe. Let’s take a look at the numbers that underlie those arguments.

Two of the latest Continental majors, for Europe in Slovenia and for Asia in Chinese Taipei, boast a rise in numbers of viewers both live and on TV. The average number of match viewers on TV was slightly over 104.000 with a total of 30.4 million, not even taking into account the social media reaches, which ranged from 5 to 10 million depending on the platform. Some impressive numbers for continental competitions, but let’s take a further look at the international majors.

As with any sport, the world championships are the biggest in global audience counts. The 2012 FIFA Futsal World Cup that was held in Thailand was televised to 196 territories, a 36% growth from 2008. Some 140 million people watched this tournament on TV, while 50 million of these were from Asia, demonstrating the huge presence of the sport has in that region.

Since the times when Futsal was relatively unknown outside its traditional heartlands of South America and parts of Europe, futsal has had a dramatical growth over the last 15 years, has spread globally and is now presented in all parts of the globe. Somewhat of a positive for the sports is, that we are still in the beginning part of growth and there is still much more potential waiting to be exploited. As an industry it is most certainly far from maturity, as is evident from its past, therefore growth is likely to continue its steady growth over future years. Positive trends are good not only for the sport but also for investors and sponsors.

As the numbers show, in terms of futsal, both Europe and Asia are markets that have massive growth potential. Therefore let us compare the activities of UEFA and Asian Football Confederation (AFC) futsal branches, as the two regulators, each in its respective continent of Europe and Asia. As is common today for any business, a look at its website should provide the public with a decent idea of their general activities and give a positive first impression. UEFA website looks active while providing the user with information regarding the whole sport, from youth world championships to changes in the game format or news from different competitions. AFC website at this time does not have a separate page for futsal but only subpages for futsal competitions. Taking a look at the competition subpages does not provide you with more than game reports, that are sometimes a year old. Even someone who is new to futsal while going over these pages would find them rather outdated, contrary to the main websites of UEFA and AFC dedicated to football. While one webpage may look better or have more information listed on it, both are lacking information regarding its initiatives or general history of the sport. A good example of such webpage is the FIFA futsal page which seems to tick all the boxes of public interest.

While a web page is not the only important metric for measuring an overall organization’s performance, still it overlook the untapped potential of futsal in Asia – the world’s largest continent with over half of the world’s population and a growing popularity of futsal.

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