Kerala Blasters keen to boost stadium experience for fans

Varun Tripuraneni, chief executive of the Kerala Blasters, has said that the Indian Super League football club is looking at ways that it can improve the experience of fans attending home matches at its Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

The multi-use venue, also known as the Kaloor International Stadium, boasts a minimum capacity of 60,000, but can be expanded to 75,000, depending on what event is taking place.

Kerala Blasters have played home matches at the venue in Kochi since the club’s foundation in 2014, and in the 2016 season attracted an average attendance of 49,565 – the highest among all football clubs across Asia.

According to the Sports Keeda website, Tripuraneni is keen to build on the success of last season and further improve facilities at the stadium to help draw more fans to Blasters matches in the coming campaign, as well as enable the club to build a stronger relationship with its expanding supporter base in the country.

“We will see what best we can do to improve the stadium experience for the fans,” Tripuraneni said. “We have made a start at the grassroots level. We have got a couple of development centres opening soon.”

Tripuraneni also said the club will work with new head coach Rene Meulensteen on the initiative. Meulensteen has enjoyed a coaching career that included a spell as first-team coach with English Premier League club Manchester United.

“We are trying our best,” Tripuraneni said. “Rene has worked with the greatest club at the youth level and we will take suggestions from him on that.”

Kerala Blasters finished second in the 2016 Indian Super League table, one point behind Mumbai City in first place. The club went on to progress to the final of the end-of-season ISL Finals, but lost 4-3 on penalties to Atlético de Kolkata.