In India, cricket is considered the primary sport, or what we can call a religion for the people. Besides, that is football, which is yet to reach the same level of cricket in India. However, football has started its journey to mark its name beside cricket in India, with the rise of popularity of the Indian Super League (ISL) in the country.
This big initiative to grow the love for football in India saw its commencement on 8th October 2013, with the official tournament starting from 2014 with eight teams participating and since then ISL hasn’t had to look back. ISL, since its inception, has been able to attract a huge number of viewers with audiences filling up maximum seats in the stadium.
Considering the popularity of ISL, you can easily guess what is going to adjoin with it, yes, sponsorship, investment, and advertisements. At first, it was hard for the ISL owners to make the investors and advertisers understand this project. With the passing years, ISL is about to enter its eighth season, it has emerged as a huge business opportunity besides promoting the game of football.
For instance, this season, the Indian Super League is introduced in one of the world’s best and popular football video games produced by EA Sports, known as FIFA. Following this, you can state that ISL has been able to put Indian football on the world map. While EA Sports have also signed a partnership deal with the defending champions, Mumbai City FC this season, which is also a terrific advertisement for the competition.
Currently, ISL has Hero, as their title sponsor, while Apollo Tyers and Nivia are the official partners. Dream 11 is the fantasy football partner and lastly, the world’s famous football league, Premier League has tied its hands with the ISL as the strategic partner.
Apart from this, each clubs have their partners for their kits, stadium, drinks, etc. By understanding the lucrative deals, we can get a pretty clear view of what ISL has achieved in these past years. Apart from growing the viewership of football, it has also been able to convince some renowned companies to invest in this idea.
A total of 115 matches were played last season, which was broadcasted by the Star Sports network in 80 territories, spreading across Asia, Australia, United States, Canada, Europe. While the tournament has witnessed an increase in fan engagement across all its digital and social media platforms, with the figure crossing over 360 million views. The previous season of the league recorded a 51% growth in viewership, according to the TV rating agency Broadcast Audience Research Council India.
The same type of excitement or even more is expected in the eighth season of the ISL, which is going to start from 19th November. ATK Mohan Bagan will take on Kerala Blasters in the season opener, while the tournament will conclude in March 2022.