- Marks the birth of India as a footballing nation
- Creates history with unprecedented reach on air, on ground and online
- Inaugural season of Hero ISL watched by 429 million on TV, more than 2.5x of 2014 FIFA World Cup!
- Over 1.5 million fans watch it on ground, in-stadia, making it the 4th most attended football league in the world!
- Records 32 million visits on starsports.com creating the largest football event ever on digital in India
- Dominates social media trends: 2.2 million conversations, 11 billion impressions through the league!
Hero Indian Super League (ISL), the one of its kind domestic football championship, captured the imagination of sports fans across India in just its inaugural year, marking the birth of India as a footballing nation. Hero ISL, a brainchild of IMG-Reliance and Star India, took the nation by storm, recording unprecedented reach on TV, in stadia and digital, awakening the ‘sleeping giant’ of world football.
Unmatched in its sheer scale and vision and encapsulating world-class production values, the league helped football strike a chord with fans in a way never seen before in India. An aggregate of 429 million viewers (TAM data CS4+ extrapolated to the universe using a standard conversion factor) tuned in from across the nation to watch the Hero ISL live on their televisions screens, making it the second most-watched sport in the country after cricket. The league cut across demographic boundaries and captured the imagination of a diverse fanbase, with women and children accounting for 57% of the 429 million viewers.
The Hero Indian Super League final played between Atlético de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters, on December 20, was watched by 57 million viewers, 2.4x of the reach of 2014 FIFA World Cup final, culminating the over two months long league. The final, with an average TVT of 1418 among M 15+ ABC, registered as the highest rated match of the tournament, 11% higher than the opening match of the tournament.
Talking about the league’s success, Mrs. Nita M. Ambani, Chairperson, IMG-Reliance said, “The success of Hero ISL is a realisation of a dream- the dream of a billion plus Indians to experience and embrace the beauty of football. ‘The beautiful game’ has successfully captured the imagination of people of India and we have experienced the joy of watching the birth of a footballing nation. Hero ISL has been geared towards one overarching objective— to develop football across the country in a systematic and holistic manner, and its success will spur the development of Indian football. I extend my gratitude to the people of India for their love and support.”
In a move unprecedented in sports broadcasting in India, the Hero ISL was telecast live on eight channels in five different languages cross the STAR India network. The league was also aired on starsports.com.
“Launched with the aim of helping football take root among the country’s masses, the Hero ISL was backed by an aggressive broadcast plan to bring an unparalleled football experience to the viewers. Our intent was to awaken the passion of football and create the birth of a footballing nation. The resultant success of the Hero ISL justifies it as the right platform for tapping the passion for the sport that exists in India. As we gear for a bigger and better second edition, I would like to thank our partners IMG- Reliance, AIFF, all the club owners and more than 400 million fans for making this dream a reality,” said Mr. Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India.
The following of the Hero ISL was also highlighted by the sheer number of fans who turned out to watch the matches live and their enthusiasm. Over 1.5 million fans thronged stadia across the country all throughout the tournament. Stadia have generally been packed close to capacity with attendance averaging about 26,000 fans per match. This has made the Hero ISL the most attended league in Asia and among the top leagues in the world. In its short history, it has already become the fourth most-attended football league in the world, in terms of average attendance, and now only trails Germany’s Bundesliga, the Barclays Premier League and the La Liga.
The finals at DY Patil Stadium, Mumbai, had about 37,000 fans witness the crowing of the 1st Champion of Hero ISL.
Hero ISL scored big on digital front too. starsports.com, the online broadcaster of the Hero Indian Super League, broke many digital records over the duration of the tournament. More than 32 million visits were recorded during the tournament.Starsports.com has created the largest football event ever on digital in India, surpassing the online audience even for the FIFA World Cup 2014. Across web, mobile and app,starsports.com recorded over 17 million online video views through the course of the tournament. The final match played on Saturday, December 20 between Kerala Blasters FC & Atlético de Kolkata recorded 1.6 million online visits.
The popularity of the Hero ISL has also been evident across social media platforms. It has dominated trends online with fans extremely vocal in their enthusiasm. Globally, Hero ISL has created 2.2 million conversations on social media with more than 275,000 unique authors (twice as many unique authors as 2014 FIFA World Cup in India) generating 11 billion potential impressions.
#ISLfinal trended at #2 worldwide on Twitter, and Atletico de Kolkata at #1 in India on Facebook on the day of the final, Saturday, December 20, 2014.