Kolkata will see the launch of IMG-Reliance and STAR India's football tournament, Hero Indian Super League, on Sunday (October 12). Besides team owners like Bollywood actors Ranbir Kapoor, Salman Khan and Abhishek Bachchan and former cricketers Sachin Tendulkar and Sourav Ganguly, the league has attracted sponsorships from brands across categories.
Most recent, cricketers Virat Kohli and Mahendra Singh Dhoni bought into the Goa FC and Chennai FC teams, respectively.
While Hero MotoCorp came as a title sponsor for three years around two months ago, sports goods, footwear and apparel brand Puma and Muthoot Capital Services have come as the official ball partner and referee's jersey back sponsor, respectively. The associate partner is Maruti Suzuki. The pouring partner is PepsiCo. Other official partners include Dr Reddy's Nise Gel and dairy and confectionery brand Amul.
Sources said the league was in talks with more brands, including Apollo Tyres. Most sponsorship deals, including Hero's, have been signed for three years. The title sponsorship costs Rs 20 crore a year. An associate sponsorship Rs 8 crore a year. The official partners have paid Rs 3-5 crore for a year.
The opening ceremony has been planned on the theme of India and its cultures. About 200 children and 140 dancers will take part. So will actor Priyanka Chopra. Owners, including actor Amitabh Bachchan and businessman Mukesh Ambani and wife Nita, and their families will be there.
The chief guest will be West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. The celebrations will start at 5.30 pm and the kick-off at 7.00 pm. The tournament will be aired on STAR India network, the official broadcaster and 33 per cent stakeholder in the promoting entity of the league, Football Sports Development, a joint venture of IMG-Reliance and STAR India. The Hero ISL will be aired in English, Hindi, Bengali, Kannada and Malayalam, a first in the country's private sport broadcasting.
The insurance for the event this year is Rs 600 crore. This includes Rs 150 crore by the league promoters and Rs 450 crore by the teams (Rs 55-58 crore a team).