The season finale of the third Hero Indian Super League (ISL) 2016 which took place on December 18, saw 54,000 people attending at the stadium in Kochi and 41 million fans tuning in on television to follow the clash between Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters FC, according to data released by audience monitoring company BARC.
STAR India, the official broadcasters and co-promoter of the ISL, revealed that the league saw an increase of 41 per cent in the total number of viewers when compared to 2015. According to the statement from STAR, ISL was the most viewed televised sport event of the year in Kerala.
The season finale overshadowed viewership figures of major sporting events in Kerala, including the India-West Indies 2016 T20 World Cup Semi-finals, Euro 2016 final and FIFA World Cup 2014 final. Similarly, the viewership in West Bengal beat even the IPL 9 finals, show BARC figures.
Hero ISL received, in its third edition, a total viewership of 216 million as compared to around 207 million last year. One of the highlights of the season was the sharp increase in rural India viewership registering a cumulative figure of 101 million, indicating the widespread appeal of the sport.
Key metro markets like Mumbai and Chennai emerged as one of the top performers this season recording a surge of more than 50 per cent over last year along with a cumulative 20 per cent spike in viewership in Tamil Nadu. This demonstrates the growth of the sport beyond the traditional bastions of football. This, combined with the numbers of the rural region is indicative of the growing penetration of Hero ISL across all belts in India.
Season3 of ISL recorded a surge of over 25 per cent in overall viewer engagement vis-a-vis ISL 2015. The 2016 edition saw doubling of total “watchtime” (which was 2.3 times over last year) on Hotstar and Jio platform. In all ISL club cities, with fan armies and football enthusiasts filling up an average of over 84 per cent seating capacity, the highest across all three seasons.
Nita Ambani, Founder & Chairperson, Football Sports Development Limited said, “The overwhelming response from fans is testament to the vision we have for the league, and it reaffirms our faith that the ‘Indian football is moving in right direction. The response from newer markets like Tamil Nadu and Mumbai, and further growth in established markets like West Bengal, Kerala etc shows the appetite for the sport. Stadium attendance, viewership numbers and growth on digital platform this season further encourages us to reset our benchmark for the season ahead.”
Sanjay Gupta, Managing Director, STAR India said, “We had dreamt of the day when Indian footballers would emerge as sporting heroes and this season of the Hero ISL has seen many new stars emerge. Further the quality of play and multi-lingual, high quality broadcast content has delivered record engagement levels among fans.