Reliance, IMG Worldwide and Star India launch ISL
Reliance Industries Ltd, IMG Worldwide and Star India today announced the launch of the Indian Super League (ISL), a revolutionary football tournament that will foster local talent and feature international stars with the aim of making the game one of the country's flagship sports and India a name to reckon with in the global arena.
The league promises to revolutionize the sport from the grassroots, leveraging the strengths of all three partners who are focused on raising the game to national prominence, offering Indian football greater global exposure and eventually helping India qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
The ISL will feature eight city-specific teams to start with and will tap the burgeoning interest among the country's young population that's increasingly seen taking interest in the sport globally.
Star India, which also owns broadcast and sponsorship rights, will use its sports properties to take the ISL to millions of households and also monetize the content on and off field.
“Football, with its largely untapped potential in the country, has the opportunity to grow to an unrivalled commercial success quite unlike any other sport. We hope the growing football footprint will pave the way for the nation's sporting renaissance," said Nita M. Ambani.
“The ISL will feature international football stars combined with good football facilities, rivalry between India's biggest cities and the roar of a billion passionate fans,” said Mike Dolan, chairman and CEO, IMG Worldwide. “It envisions creating new football powerhouses in this part of the world, which will rise to global prominence as the country and the sport further develop.”
“The Indian Super League represents transformational progress in Indian Football that will be good for players, owners and fans alike.”Praful Patel, AIFF President
“India is hungry for its second sport. Combining top notch infrastructure with our expertise in sports production, our attempt is to bring an unparalleled football experience to our viewers,” said Uday Shankar, CEO of Star India. “For far too long, the Indian sports fan has quietly waited for this revolution on the cusp of which we stand today. Our objective is nothing short of creating a movement around football in India. We want to put India on the global map.”
“The Indian Super League represents transformational progress in Indian Football that will be good for players, owners and fans alike,” said Praful Patel, president, All India Football Federation and Union Minister for Heavy Industries.
The ISL will also implement various football development projects aimed at holistic development of the sport in the country, including engaging with the masses to get them excited about football, encouraging families to regularly involve their children in football, creating an infrastructure to identify talented footballers at a young age and groom them into elite professionals and creating a critical mass of highly talented coaches to work at all levels of football in India.