Best places in Bengaluru where you can play football

Football lovers have got it good in Bengaluru. The sport is gaining major popularity in the city with new arenas mushrooming indescribably. About 10 years ago, the only places to play in the city were the large public fields which were already crowded with young boys playing cricket. Add to that the scorching sun beating down and football lovers were a dejected lot. Not anymore! Bengaluru now has up to 30 football astro turfs, most of which are FIFA-approved and fitted with car parks, floodlights and changing rooms. In fact, there isn’t an area in urban Bengaluru without a football arena in close proximity. So with all the competition around, you might be forgiven for being a little confused about which ones to visit. To help you out, we have listed four of our favourite football arenas in the city. Check them out here.

The Bull Ring Arena

Situated in Indira Nagar, this arena is ideally located. It has one five-a-side court with FIFA-certified turf and floodlights. It also provides parking, first-aid, equipment and a washroom. Nakul Rajaram, a regular at the arena, says, “It feels like you are playing in a FIFA-street arena, it opens on two sides to the main road and is bang in the centre of the city which makes it a big hit with football players.” With booking charges varying between Rs 1,000 and 1,500/hour on weekdays and Rs 1,500 and 2,000/hour on weekends, the Bull Ring is a must-visit for footballers of all ages.

One unique feature of this arena is ‘Bubble Soccer’, a wackier version of football in which players play the game while encased in an inflatable zorb light ball which covers their upper body and head. You can easily tell when a game of Bubble Soccer is going on by the throng of curious onlookers.

Amenities: Parking, first-aid, washroom, equipment, floodlights, coaching

Tiento Sports

Located in the heart of the city, near Richmond Circle, Tiento is one of Bengaluru’s most popular football arenas. With St. Joseph’s Arts and Science College and Bishop Cottons Boys’ High School located nearby, the students from these institutions flock here for a game of football before, after and during classes.

With high quality FIFA-approved two-star turf, toilets, changing room, an allotted car park and a convenient location to boot, Tiento is an obvious choice for Bengaluru’s football lovers. Coaching camps for kids are also conducted at the arena by the Arsenal Soccer School.

Football fanatic Zarif Khwaja, who plays at Tiento twice a week, says: “Tiento is not only convenient for CBD residents, but also plays host to Bengaluru’s finest footballers. This five-a-side marvel is well-managed and maintained, something that amateur footballers appreciate but don’t expect. Tiento is my home ground.”

Another regular, Raag Fernandes, weighs in. “The main reason Tiento seems to be a stand-out option for me is its proximity to the city centre.”

And to top it off, Rs 1300/hour seems to be a steal considering the prime location of this arena.

Amenities: Parking, first-aid, washroom, equipment, floodlights, coaching

XLR8 Indoor Stadium

Probably the most versatile sports arena in Bengaluru, XLR8 hosts a multitude of sports such as cricket, football, wall-climbing, table tennis and volleyball. It has five indoor courts for both cricket and football and also has a gym for members, while the volleyball court is located outdoors. Add to that wall-climbing (a must try!) and you can see why XLR8 is so hugely popular with both kids and adults. The venue hosts corporate tournaments and birthday parties throughout the year and stands out as one of the finest sports arenas in Bengaluru.

Joseph Anthony speaks highly of the arena. “Really great place to play. Not just football but a variety of sports. Events held there are very well organised, the management and staff are welcoming and helpful. A must-visit place for all sports enthusiasts. Cheers for XLR8!” he says.

Sharath Cariappa, who plays at XLR8 once a month, shares Anthony’s opinion. “I play football and cricket at XLR8 once a month with colleagues from the office and really enjoy the place. What impresses me the most is how helpful, organised and professional the staff are. I recommend this arena to all sports lovers.”

Players can book one of the five indoor courts for Rs 1500/hour on weekdays and Rs 2000/hour on weekends. Options for both family and corporate membership are also available. Here’s an interesting fact: Being the city’s first indoor cricket facility, XLR8 almost hosted the 2013 indoor Cricket World Cup!

Amenities: Parking, first-aid, washroom, equipment, floodlights, coaching

The Game Changer

The Game Changer has two facilities – one located in Mathikere and the other at Rasta Café on Mysore road. The great thing about the Game Changer at Mathikere is that it has four five-a-side football turfs and also hosts seven-a-side and nine-a-side games. This arena is not only great for players with its high quality FIFA-certified turf but also for the spectators who have been allotted viewing stations. To add to all this, the Game Changer also partners with BFC Soccer Schools to conduct training camps for youngsters interested in learning the game. Booking a court for an hour is Rs 1400 on weekdays and Rs 1600 on weekends.

Here Zarif Khwaja appraises the Mathikere facility. “Game Changer boasts a variety of pitches, from five-a- side to seven/eight-a-side matches. Rarely do pitches have such a good ratio of grass to rubber (that black stuff that gets everywhere),” he says.

The venue at Rasta Café is perfect for people looking to play a game of football and then settle down for a cup of coffee or a snack at the popular café.

Amenities: Parking, first-aid, washroom, equipment, floodlights, coaching, viewing stations

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