by Ernest Hernandez
The first year of 7’s Football had two seasons and the growth and reception of 7-aside football in the Philippines surprised league founder and Azkal’s Anton Del Rosario.
“I began the league to be able to play competitive amongst friends but the popularity grew and it turned into a demanding league,” reflects Del Rosario. “The support of not just the players but also the fans brought in tons of media support via TV features, broadcasting and of course the support of Manila Bulletin.”
Eight teams participated in the inaugural season and two more teams joined the next one. Del Rosario was also overwhelmed when TV5 came into an agreement to air the finals of season two.
For 2019, the third season is expected to kick off on February 3 with a few changes.
“Not only that but we will also be televised and have live streaming via TV5. We are also changing our game days to Sundays allowing us to deliver a full Football Experience and hopefully have more viewers supporting the teams.“
One of the main goals for the league in 2019 is to engage more fans into the games. Aside from moving the games from every Monday to Sunday, Del Rosario already bared some changes heading to the next season including adding two more teams.
To summarize 2019, you can expect a main title sponsor, Sunday game days, BBQ-ing and tailgating, 12 teams from 10, TV and streaming, more action, more prizes and fan engagement,” Del Rosario bares.
One of the main reasons why 7-aside football was pushed to grow this big was to attract teams from different countries to come and challenge the best of what the Philippines has to offer. This goal is on track to happen late in 2019.
“Should all go as planned I will try to bring in an international tournament with teams from different countries coming to the Philippines by years end,” Del Rosario ended.