Star India and brands gear up for the launch of Hero ISL

MUMBAI:  As India is gearing up for its own Waka Waka moment with the Hero Indian Super League kicking off tomorrow, football fans from across the country are invited to be a part of the footballing moment.  With an ambitious broadcast and on ground blue print in place, the Hero ISL by IMG-Reliance and Star India along with the AIFF  is gearing up to score a goal through its campaign- ‘C’mon India, Let’s football’.  The league kicks off tomorrow at the Salt Lake Stadium Kolkata.

The league unlike the Pro Kabaddi league has already garnered a good amount of sponsorship interest. Hero MotoCorp has come on board for the league as the title sponsor while Maruti Suzuki has been signed as the associate sponsor. FMCG brands PepsiCo India and Amul are the official partners. The Muthoot Group along with Puma and Dr Reddy’s Nise Gel have also been signed as the official partners of the league. Industry sources peg the title sponsorship deal at Rs 54 crore for a period of three years. According to sources, the associate sponsorship deal could be pegged close to Rs 20 to Rs 22 crore for three years while the associate sponsors could have shelled out close to Rs 13 crore to Rs 15 crore for three years.

Ogilvy & Mather has created the official TV campaign for the league which includes TVCs and snippets featuring the co-owners of various teams like Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Saurav Ganguly and Virat Kohli urging football fans to take to the game.  The ad is being telecast across the Star network. A peppy soundtrack for the same has been composed by Amit Trivedi. Industry sources say that Star which has around a 30 per cent stake in the league is spending close to Rs 25 to Rs 30 crore on its marketing initiatives and create visibility for the league in different cities.

GroupM ESP national director entertainment sports and live events Vinit Karnik speaking on the various stakeholders of the league says, “The Hero ISL has come at the right time to India. The grassroots programme undertaken by the various teams and the support provided by the league organisers such as the strategic partnership with the English Premier League is fantastic. Star’s move to broadcast the league in five languages will see a very high reach through its various platforms. Brands on the other hand, need to look at this league as long term investments that will provide good returns.”

The eight different teams for the league are Atletico de Kolkata, Chennaiyin FC, Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Goa, FC Pune City, Kerala Blasters FC, Mumbai City FC and Northest United FC. The teams too are busy promoting the league and undertaking various grassroots programme in their home turfs. FC Pune City CEO Gaurav Modwel says that his team is creating visibility through multiple pub and mall activations in Pune. Various schools are being targeted while many BTL and ATL activities are being initiated. The team has got on board Avanse Education Finance Services and lifestyle brand HRX as its sponsors.

Down South, Kerala Blasters general manager Viren D’silva says that some brands already believe that the league will succeed.  “There are the believers who are optimistic about the sport and then there are the non-believers who are playing a wait and watch game to see how the game pans out before investing,” he says.  When asked if it is easier to lure sponsors since cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar is a co owner of the team, D’silva replies that the master blaster is not just an owner but part of the team’s psychology and  the deals they are working with are commercially independent and brands look at it from the returns they would receive.  Muthoot Pappachan is the title sponsor for the team which has also locked deals with other local brands.

Some of the teams too have got sponsors on board. Chennaiyin FC has Ozone Group as the principal sponsor. Atletico de Kolkata has Aircel as its principal sponsor while its other partners include Peerless Hospitals and Lux Cozi. Max Healthcare is the health partner for Delhi Dynamos which has an alliance with Dutch club Feyenoord that will help in development of the team besides providing players and technical staff. Videocon d2h is the principal sponsor of FC Goa while Usha International is its co sponsor.

Madison Media COO Karthik Lakshminarayanan elaborating further on these brands locking deals with the franchises says, “Given the success of the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League, people are hoping the same for the Hero ISL. Kabaddi was not a very popular sport until now and with football already having a fan following in the country, advertisers are optimistic that the league will be a success.”

And money was not an issue when both domestic and international players were selected during the draft. Close to Rs 16 crore was spent on international players who were picked by eight teams in seven rounds while on the other hand, Rs 24 crore was spent by teams during the domestic draft. The total insurance cover for the league is pegged close to Rs 600 crore including that of the teams.


 The league will be televised 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) while there will be live streaming on  The portal will present video on demand content, match highlights and full match replays. The channel says with this move it plans to reach around 85 per cent of India’s television audience. Star has partnered with international agencies such as IMG for the live programming of the matches. It has also roped in Argentina-based 4HUMANS to put forth superlative graphics design and the UK-based AE Graphics for its execution.

The league featuring 56 matches will have its final match on 20 December 2014.The entertainment packed proceedings will be telecast tomorrow starting 6 pm on the eight channels and on, whereas the on-ground entertainment will start 5:20 pm onwards. The highlight of the grand opening ceremony will be a special performance by Bollywood diva Priyanka Chopra, accompanied by Salim Merchant of the Salim and Suleiman famed duo. Following the inauguration ceremony, the first match of the Hero ISL will be played between Atletico de Kolkata and Mumbai City FC, locking horns against each other on the field.

Star India COO Sanjay Gupta had earlier said, “We believe in the potential of football as a sport that cuts across culture, race, religion and economic might. As the leading sports broadcasting network in India, we plan to take the viewer experience to the next level. The magnitude of what we are setting out to do has never been attempted.”



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