The Salt Lake Stadium in Kolkata will be the epicenter of Indian and global football fans alike as the inaugural season of the Hero Indian Super League kicks off there on 12 October 2014.
The entertainment packed proceedings will be telecast starting 6 pm on eight channels of the Star network and also be aired on www.starsports.com, whereas the on-ground entertainment will start 5:20 pm onwards.
The sheer footballing quotient aside, Kolkata citizens and Indian football fans alike will be treated to an eye catching visual extravaganza at the grand opening ceremony.
Kicking off the grand opening ceremony will be a performance by 200 children (100 boys and 100 girls) between the age group of 12 - 14 years and 100 dance performers, wherein over 600 illuminated footballs will be used as props. The performance by the children will culminate in a dramatic formation of the ISL logo. Around 160 Indian musicians with eight musical maestros will also set the stage alight at the Salt Lake Stadium to some melodious Indian music.
Next up will be a quick video montage highlighting the International and Indian footballing talent on display over the duration of the inaugural season of the Hero ISL. Post which taking center stage would be West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, who will declare the inaugural opening ceremony open.
Immediately post which the Hero ISL will pay a brief tribute to the "Blazing Feet Of Indian Footballing Legends", the Golden Era of football in India 1951-1962 with shots from the Asian Games of 1962. Then taking center stage at the Salt Lake Stadium will be a tribute by eight musical maestros representing each of the eight participating teams and regions, who will be accompanied nearly a 160 musicians. Representing Kolkata at their home venue will be Bickram Gosh, while percussionist extraordinaire Sivamani will play for Chennai. Similarly, Aslam Dafrani will represent Delhi, while Bondo and Taufiq Qureshi will represent Goa and Mumbai respectively. Adding to the atmosphere will the Chenda players representing Kerala, the Manipuri dhol players from the North East and Puneri dhol players representing Pune. All of whom will be accompanied by 160 lezim players.
The highlight of the grand opening ceremony will be a special performance by Bollywood Diva and international pop icon Priyanka Chopra, accompanied by Salim Merchant of the Salim and Suleiman famed duo. Chopra will then set the stage alight performing with all the eight musical maestros and dance performers, who will also sing an original compilation later.
The ceremony will then come to a close amidst fantastic fireworks, with a special rendition of the League anthem being performed by Salim Merchant.
The minister of youth affairs and sports, Sarbananda Sonowal would also be present at the event along with other dignitaries including AIFF president Praful Patel, Star India CEO Uday Shankar. Celebrity owners of the participating teams present at the event will include Abhishek Bachchan (Chennaiyin FC), Varun Dhawan (FC Goa), Salman Khan (FC Pune City) and John Abraham (NorthEast United FC) along with Saurav Ganguly (Atletico De Kolkata), Sachin Tendulkar (Kerala Blasters FC) and Ranbir Kapoor (Mumbai City FC).
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.
The ceremony and the inaugural match of the Hero Indian Super League Season 2014 will be telecast 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). Furthermore, it would also be aired on www.starsports.com.
Tickets to the opening ceremony and first match of Hero ISL are priced between Rs 200 to Rs 2500. Tickets can be booked online at www.indiansuperleague.com. Tickets are also available at Salt Lake Stadium box office.