CPD FOOTBALL | THE BLOG | The World of Indian football and beyond by Chris Punnakkattu Daniel

Chennai to host 2015 Indian Super League Opening Ceremony on October 3

Hero Indian Super League (ISL)

Hero Indian Super League (ISL)

The Hero Indian Super League (ISL), the unrivalled competition which sparked a football revolution in India with its inaugural edition last year, featuring eight city franchises, renowned international footballing stars, coaches and a host of Indian talents, is all set to stage its second season starting Saturday, October 3, 2015.

The promoters of Indian Super League, Football Sports Development Ltd — a joint venture between IMG, Reliance Industries and Star India – today announced the fixtures for its second season, featuring 61 games spread across 79 days.

The League stage will witness 56 games in a home and away format, followed by two-legged semi-finals starting December 11, 2015 with the ‘Super Sunday’ final scheduled on December 20, 2015 at a pre-decided venue to be announced at a later date. All the matches will kick off at 19.00 IST.

Chennaiyin FC will host the opener when they take on the might of Hero ISL defending champions Atlético de Kolkata on October 3, 2015 at their home ground Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The action will then move to Goa the next day with FC Goa pitted against Delhi Dynamos FC, while fans in Mumbai will witness the ‘Maharashtra Derby’ on October 5, 2015 when Mumbai City FC locks horns with FC Pune City at DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai.

The Hero ISL bandwagon will reach Kerala on October 6, 2015 when last year’s runners-up Kerala Blasters FC play their first home fixture against NorthEast United FC. The newly laid pitch at Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata will be put to test for its first big match night when Atlético de Kolkata tussle with arch rivals FC Goa on October 7, 2015. Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Pune City and NorthEast United FC will host their first home matches on October 8, 9 and 16, 2015, respectively.

The inaugural year of Hero Indian Super League witnessed an unprecedented response in the history of Indian football, achieving a rare feat of being the fourth most watched football League in the world. For the first time in Indian football, globally renowned players like, Alessandro Del Piero, Nicolas Anelka, Robert Pires, Fredrik Ljungberg, David James, Luis Garcia, David Trezeguet, Elano Blumer and Joan Capdevila played alongside the best Indian football talents.

Hero ISL’s first edition saw participation of footballers from 36 varied nationalities, including India; changing the way football was perceived in the country so far. The globally viewed tournament had a whopping 129 goals scored at an average of 2.11 goals per game.

The Indian Super League brought Indian football to the world stage with its high quality football. Over 1.5 million fans made their way to eight city based club’s home stadiums to witness this unrivalled footballing event unfold. The inaugural season of Hero ISL was watched by 429 million viewers on TV in India, more than 2.5 times of the viewership of the 2014 FIFA World Cup!

The social media presence of Hero ISL has grown exponentially since the inaugural season with over 1.7 million ‘Likes’ on the League’s official Facebook page in addition to another 120 thousands that follow @IndSuperLeague on Twitter. The ISL website www.indiansuperleague.com received 3.4 million unique visitors and over 28 million page views over the duration of the League with a record of 32 million online views on www.starsports.com, making it the largest football event ever on digital in India.