For a professional sports venture success lies in retaining its commercial associates. Indian Super League on the path of rapid growth and success has retained the faith of its key partners.
Three leading commercial associates – title sponsors Hero MotoCorp, along with associate sponsors Maruti Suzuki and DHL Express – have been strengthening their ties with India’s elite men’s professional football league, which in a span of four years has grown from a eight teams, 59 games in the first season of over two and a half months to a 10-team league that will feature 95 games over a span of seven months.
The ISL has been a 360° success story for fans, commercial partners and the brands which have been commercial companions in its journey into the fifth season, which got off to a flying start in Kolkata on last Saturday, August 29.
Title sponsor Hero MotoCorp last year had extended their association with the league in a $25 million, three-year deal. The Hero Honda has been a catalyst to in bringing much-needed professionalism and promote the game in association with Reliance Industries and Star Sports.
While IMG-Reliance had created the desired, much-needed structure to initiate international level football league, Star Sports’ broadcast values with state-of-the art production has provided the solid foundations that in just four season’s has grown to draw some of European and American football’s renowned names playing professionally in India.
Just like Hero MotoCorp, associate sponsors Maruti Suzuki and DHL Express have been finding right values to extend their association with the league. International courier company DHL has been with ISL for the fourth successive season and so does India’s number one car manufacturer Maruti.
While extending their ISL partnership last year, DHL Express SVP and Country Head RS Subramanian had attributed the resounding success of the league over the years. “At DHL we are passionate about football, and over the last decade have globally supported the best names and teams such as Manchester United, EPL champions of 2015 Leicester City, and some of the world’s biggest football clubs and tournaments such as FC Bayern and Copa América. Hero ISL is the third most attended football tournament in the world, and the largest in Asia. We believe our partnership will bring Indian audiences closer to the game and will help to nurture emerging young talent to compete at a global platform,” he had stated.
The success of ISL has also contributed to a steady improvement in Indian football, which has resulted in a sustained improvement in India’s FIFA rankings. Star Sports has been a key player in this growth, creating a commercial value and stronger fan base with its innovative, value-based production and broadcast strategies.
The ISL Season 4 has recorded 81 million cumulative viewers. The numbers this year are expected to breach the one billion mark.