The Indian Super League (ISL), a new football league due to begin in September, has entered into a strategic partnership with the EnglishPremierLeague (EPL) – the world’s most popular and successful football league to bring itsbest practicesto India under an exchange programme.
The co-operation agreement between ISL -- co-promoted by IMG-Reliance, thejoint venturebetween IMG and Reliance Industries, Star India with support from All India Football Federation (AIFF) -- and the EnglishPremierLeague will allow the ISL to leverage the league's expertise in nurturing and growing a high quality football competition.
England’sPremierLeague is the most watched continuous annual globalsportingevent inthe world. Last season, 13.9 million fans attended matches with record average stadium occupancy of 95.9%. Across nine months, 380 matches are viewed in 175countries withcoverage available in more than 650 million homes.
The Indian Super League, set tokick offin September 2014,will receivestrategic support, advice and assistance from thePremierLeague to further the development of the league and its clubs. The EPL will also assist in establishing club governance, shaping the brand, fan engagement, defining anti-corruption and anti-doping policies for the ISL, as well as jointpromotionof the ISL andPremierLeague football in India.
"The co-operation between the Indian Super League and thePremierLeague lends credence to the Indian Super League’s mission to engage the 200 million-plus Indian football fan base by showcasing a quality football offering with international standards of governance and an unparalleled viewing experience," a press release from ISL said.
ISL aims to foster local talent and feature international stars, making the game one of the country’s flagship sports and India, a name to reckon within the global arena. ISL will feature eight franchises from Bangalore, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.
India is thePremierLeague’s number one market in terms of social media engagement, with an average reach of 1.48 million Indian fans every week.
Through he lliance, Indian Super League will helpPremierLeague and its clubs in staging football matches and assist in other business development initiatives in India. This will encourage exchange programmes and partnership building between clubs of the two leagues. Indian Super League and thePremierLeague will also cross-promote football coverage on Star India’s platform tothe growingIndian fan base.
Richard Scudamore, Chief Executive of thePremierLeague, said: “Having earlier this year signed a mutual co-operation agreement withthe AsianFootball Confederation (AFC), we are very pleased to also enter into this partnership with the ISL. This will see both organisations work together and share knowledge in several key areas including player development, refereeing, marketing andpromotion.
“We know from our broadcastpartnerStar India, and our work with the AIFF on our long-established grassroots football projectPremierSkills that we run in several locations across India, that the popularity of football, and thePremierLeague, is growing. There is a further opportunity to develop the sport as a result of that increased interest and we hope to continue to make a real contribution to all levels of Indian football," he said.
Nita M. Ambani of ISL said, “Partnering withPremierLeague brings credence to Indian Super League and to our vision of popularizing the sport in India. I am confident that the tie-up will immensely help in nurturing and establishing Indian Super League with good governance andbest practices. The alliance also presents a great opportunity of partnership and cross promotions between the ISL League Partners andPremierLeague Clubs.”
Jeff Slack, Senior Vice President, IMG, Global Football Development, said, “Pairing thePremierLeague, an established best-in-class football organization, with the Indian Super League is a dream arrangement for football fans in India. The ability to leverage thePremierLeague’s experience in creating a successful league model for both players and fans will be a tremendous value to the Indian Super League as it continues to grow the sport in India.”
Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India added, “The partnership puts belief in our Star's sports philosophy `Believe'. From a game that hobbled about on the fringes of Indian sports, there's promise that this partnership will lift and reinvigorate football. Star strongly believes in creating local heroes, inspiring Indians to believe greatness is possible through sport and together we can create a world where sports comes first. The partnership with PL is going to help us achieve just that. Through this tie-up Star India will cross promote coverage of the Indian Super League and thePremierLeague tothe growingbase of Indian football followers.”
AIFF President Praful Patel said, “The AIFF is extremely pleased to be a part of the strategic partnership between the EnglishPremierLeague and the Indian Super League. This is an outstanding opportunity for the Indian Super League to build from the very best in the business when it comes to running a highly successful league. The EPL is revered around the world and by learning from the practitioners who have made it so successful; the Indian Super League will develop and grow in the right way, ensuring benefits not only for the league itself but also for the wider Indian football ecosystem in the longer term.”