Hero ISL hits 1 million instadia fans

A staggering 1 million fans have so far thronged stadia across the country to watch the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (ISL), as India’s most-watched football league sets yet another benchmark in its inaugural season. This landmark achievement continues to signal the countrywide excitement for the Hero ISL and is a further proof point in the organisers' determination to herald the 'birth of a football nation'.

Furthermore, the average match attendance recorded by the Hero ISL since its inaugural tie on October 12 till yesterday’s match between FC Goa and Kerala Blasters FC at 24,357, reinforces its position as the highest across the whole of Asia. The Hero ISL also makes its mark against the major global leagues and has surpassed Italy's Serie A in average attendance to become the fourth best in world football. The league now trails only Germany's Bundesliga, the Barclays Premier League and Spain’s La Liga in terms of average attendances.

The Hero ISL kicked off with 65,000 people attending the opening game between Atlético de Kolkata and Mumbai City FC on October 12, while a crowd of over 49,000 turned up on November 6 to watch the Kerala Blasters FC vs FC Goa game in Kochi. That number swelled to a full capacity stadium with over 57,000 attending the Kerala Blasters FC vs Atlético de Kolkata game surpassing expectations and serving up an electric atmosphere inside the ground.

This feat was repeated again last night with another full-house at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium, Goa, having 19,752 fans in attendance, which brought the Hero ISL cumulative attendance figure to 9, lakh 98,00 – just 2,000 short of the one million mark. With today’s match No 42 scheduled at Guwahati between NorthEast United FC vs Chennaiyin FC, the Hero ISL is set to surpass the mark of hosting 1 million live fans. The crowds seen at the Hero ISL matches are a testament to the sustained popularity of the league which continues to pull in ever greater crowds past its halfway mark.

Fans attending the matches are also diverse, with football purists alongside those new to the sport as well as families turning out in force at the stadia. Apart from the chance to watch some of football’s greatest legends take to the field, some high quality international players and the emergence of Indian stars, the dramatically improved stadia facilities and overall entertainment offered are proving to be major draws for the crowds. Tickets have also been sold at various price points in keeping with the Hero ISL’s aims of taking football to the widest possible audience.

The League’s ambitious broadcast plan, with the ISL telecast live across eight channels in five languages, is another major factor in driving crowd attendance. Fans across the country, eager to experience the noise and excitement typical of the Hero ISL, have gone to a live football match for the first time after watching the games on their TV screens.

“We are delighted to have hosted 1 million fans across the eight stadiums already in our first season and are proud to be counted as the world’s fourth best football league in terms of average attendance. We have always believed that the sport of football, if given the right platform, has the potential for tremendous growth in India,” a Hero ISL spokesperson said.

“With the first season of the Hero ISL now drawing closer to its business end and fans starting to build an affinity for their local clubs and heroes, the numbers are only expected to swell further. The Hero ISL in its first year has taken a massive step towards driving the birth of India as a footballing nation and promises to scale greater heights in the years to come.”

The Hero ISL is already the most watched non-cricketing sport in India with 364 million viewers tuning in to catch the action live on their TV sets. The League has also dominated social media trends notching up over 7.7 billion impressions on Facebook and Twitter.

The Hero ISL is being beamed to a global audience, expanding the reach of the most exciting new football league across five continents and in 23 languages. In India, the Hero ISL is being telecast live on eight channels across five languages on Star Sports 2 (English), Star Sports 3 (Hindi), Star Sports HD 2 (English), Star Gold (Hindi), Star Utsav (Hindi), Asianet Movies (Malayalam), Jalsha Movies (Bengali) and Suvarna Plus (Kannada). It is also available live on www.starsports.com.

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