MUMBAI, INDIA and NEW YORK, NY--(Marketwired - Oct 21, 2013) - Reliance Industries Ltd., IMG Worldwide and Star India, today announced the launch of the 'Indian Super League,' an unrivaled football championship that will foster local talent and feature international stars with the aim of making the game one of the country's flagship sports and India a name to reckon with in the global arena.
The league promises to revolutionize the sport from the very get-go, leveraging the strengths of all three partners who are focused on growing the game to national prominence, offer Indian football greater global exposure and eventually help India qualify for the 2026 World Cup.
Reliance, India's largest business enterprise, IMG Worldwide, a global sports, fashion and media company and Star India, the nation's biggest TV network and entertainment conglomerate, all have a storied tradition of innovation, competitiveness and institutional commitment that will propel the venture, in which all three own equal stakes.
The Indian Super League will feature eight city specific teams to start with and will tap the burgeoning interest among the country's young population that's increasingly seen taking interest in the sport globally. The League will kick-off January 18, 2014 and will run through March 2014, with a second window planned in the year.
Star India, which also owns broadcast and sponsorship rights, will use its sports properties to take the League to millions of households and also monetize the content on and off field. Globally, football is the world's favorite sport, ranking highest in terms of participation, number of fans, TV viewership, sponsorship and revenues. Annual revenue for football globally is estimated at $28 billion, according to a study by AT Kearney. Star India, which also holds telecast rights to BCCI cricket matches in India, will use its superior content creation, packaging and presentation expertise to attract and retain viewer interest.
"Football, with its largely untapped potential in the country, has the opportunity to grow to an unrivaled commercial success quite unlike any other sport. We hope the growing football footprint will pave the way for the nation's sporting renaissance," said Mrs. Nita M. Ambani, Chairperson of IMG-Reliance.
"The Indian Super League will feature international football stars combined with good football facilities, rivalry between India's biggest cities and the roar of a billion passionate fans," said Mike Dolan, Chairman and CEO, IMG Worldwide. "It envisions creating new football powerhouses in this part of the world, which will rise to global prominence as the country and the sport further develop."
"India is hungry for its second sport. Combining top notch infrastructure with our expertise in sports production, our attempt is to bring an unparalleled football experience to our viewers," said Uday Shankar, CEO of Star India. "For far too long, the Indian sports fan has quietly waited for this revolution on the cusp of which we stand today. Our objective is nothing short of creating a movement around football in India. We want to put India on the global map."
"The Indian Super League represents transformational progress in Indian Football that will be good for players, owners and fans alike," said Mr. Praful Patel, Head of All India Football Federation and Union Minister for Heavy Industries.
The league will be played in strict accordance with international standards and regulations. The league will have world-class international players play with the best from India. Each team will have one marquee player, international players and the best of Indian talent. Given India's burgeoning interest in football and the country's long association with the sport, the Indian Super League is on the threshold of launching a revolutionary new football culture in the country.
The Indian Super League will also implement various football development projects aimed at holistic development of the sport in the country, including engaging with the masses to get them excited about football, encouraging families to regularly involve their children in football, creating an infrastructure to identify talented footballers at a young age and groom them into elite professionals and creating a critical mass of highly talented coaches to work at all levels of football in India.
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