MUMBAI: The Indian Super League (ISL) has entered into a strategic partnership with the English Premier League (EPL) – the world’s most popular and successful football league, to bring its best practices to India under the exchange programme.
The Co-operation Agreement between the Indian Super League, co-promoted by IMG-Reliance, the joint venture between IMG and Reliance Industries, Star India with support from All India Football Federation (AIFF) - and the English Premier League will allow ISL to leverage the league's expertise in nurturing and growing a high quality football competition.
The recently appointed Board of Director at RIL Nita M. Ambani said, “Partnering with Premier League brings credence to Indian Super League and to our vision of popularising the sport in India. I am confident that the tie-up will immensely help in nurturing and establishing Indian Super League with good governance and best practices. The alliance also presents a great opportunity of partnership and cross promotions between the ISL League Partners and Premier League Clubs.”
England’s Premier League is the most watched continuous annual global sporting event in the world. Last season, 13.9 million fans attended matches with record average stadium occupancy of 95.9 per cent. Across nine months, 380 matches are viewed in 175 countries with coverage available in more than 650 million homes.
Star India CEO Uday Shankar added, “The partnership puts belief in Stars Sports philosophy of `Believe'. From a game that hobbled about on the fringes of Indian sports, there's promise that this partnership will lift and reinvigorate football. Star strongly believes in creating local heroes, inspiring Indians to believe greatness is possible through sport and together we can create a world where sports comes first. The partnership with PL is going to help us achieve just that. Through this tie-up Star India will cross promote coverage of the Indian Super League and the Premier League to the growing base of Indian football followers.”
The Indian Super League, set to kick off in September 2014, will receive strategic support, advice and assistance from the Premier League to further the development of the league and its clubs. The EPL will also assist in establishing club governance, shaping the brand, fan engagement, defining anti-corruption and anti-doping policies for the ISL, as well as joint promotion of the ISL and Premier League football in India.
EPL chief executive officer Richard Scudamore said, “Having earlier this year signed a mutual co-operation agreement with the Asian Football Confederation (AFC), we are very pleased to also enter into this partnership with the ISL. This will see both organisations work together and share knowledge in several key areas including player development, refereeing, marketing and promotion.”
He added, “We know from our broadcast partner Star India, and our work with the AIFF on our long-established grassroots football project Premier Skills that we run in several locations across India, that the popularity of football, and the Premier League, is growing. There is a further opportunity to develop the sport as a result of that increased interest and we hope to continue to make a real contribution to all levels of Indian football.”
The co-operation between the Indian Super League and the Premier League lends credence to the Indian Super League’s mission to engage the 200 million-plus Indian football fan base by showcasing a quality football offering with international standards of governance and an unparalleled viewing experience.
ISL is an unrivalled football championship, aiming to foster local talent and feature international stars, making the game one of the country’s flagship sports and India, a name to reckon within the global arena. ISL will feature eight franchises from Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.
India is the Premier League’s number one market in terms of social media engagement, with an average reach of 1.48m Indian fans every week.
IMG, Global Football Development senior vice president Jeff Slack informed, “Pairing the Premier League, an established best-in-class football organisation, with the Indian Super League is a dream arrangement for football fans in India. The ability to leverage the Premier League’s experience in creating a successful league model for both players and fans will be a tremendous value to the Indian Super League as it continues to grow the sport in India.”
Through the alliance, Indian Super League will help Premier League and its clubs in staging football matches and assist in other business development initiatives in India. This will encourage exchange programmes and partnership building between clubs of the two leagues. Indian Super League and the Premier League will also cross-promote football coverage on Star India’s platform to the growing Indian fan base.
“The AIFF is extremely pleased to be a part of the strategic partnership between the English Premier League and the Indian Super League. This is an outstanding opportunity for the Indian Super League to build from the very best in the business when it comes to running a highly successful league. The EPL is revered around the world and by learning from the practitioners who have made it so successful; the Indian Super League will develop and grow in the right way, ensuring benefits not only for the league itself but also for the wider Indian football ecosystem in the longer term,” concluded AIFF president Praful Patel.