IMG-Realiance in association with Star India Pvt. Ltd. have formally announced a parallel league in Indian football naming it Indian Super League (ISL). The group claims that this new league will change the face of Indian football by creating unparalleled mass interest, international level telecast quality and world renowned football superstars. In the opening season itself, the league will consist of 8 franchisee teams. Though one of the stated motives is to ‘foster local talent’, each team will contain 7 international players (including one marquee player) and only 4 local players. The organizers also hope that this league will get India to the ‘FIFA World Cup by 2026’. The league is slated to kick off in January 2014 during the I-League break and will run till March 2014. Additionally, the second season is slated to start the same year, most likely during the pre-season, to avail the services of current world leading players.
Indian Super League telecast by Star Sports
Star India has bagged the telecast rights for the upcoming league. The TV conglomerate have a bouquet of leading sports channels including ESPN India and Star Sports and aim to reach millions of households. Star India also holds the telecast rights of home matches of Indian cricket team and have one of the best crew for content creation and packaging.
India is hungry for its second sport. Combined with our expertise in sports production, our attempt is to bring an unparalleled football experience to our viewers. Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India
Apart from creating a new brand for Indian football, IMG-Reliance also aims to take up infrastructural and youth development projects to create a feeder line for the league and Indian football team. They also plan to conduct programs to encourage young children to take up football as a career. Indian football fans are, however, divided over this new league. While some are having a cynical view accusing IMG-R of exploiting Indian football and destroying the I-League, others seem quite upbeat about the prospects of this league. Want to know know what Indian Football Fans think about Indian Super League? Go to Indian Super League Season 1