After a few years of planning and conceptualizing, the Indian Super League finally took shape in 2014 with 8 franchises battling it out for arguably the biggest trophy in Indian football with whooping prize money at stake.
Despite the buzz it has created and the attention it has garnered, the ISL still has a lot of facts not known by many people. Here’s a look at the lesser known facts about the most coveted football competition in the country:
Star Sports has 35% stakes :
The Indian Super League was conceptualized by the IMG-Reliance in association with the Star Network who own 35% stake in the competition. ISL is the first competition in the country where a broadcast network has stakes. This comes in as a handy advantage for the league with the network going strong on advertising and promotion of the league across its network.
Attendance – 4th highest :
In just its 1st season, ISL set a few records and changed the phenomenon of spectator attendance. A trait seen mostly in Kolkata and the North East, ISL introduced spectator attendance to an Indian football league and so much so that it went on to become the 4th largest attended league in the World behind EPL, La Liga and Serie A which is no mean feat.
15 Indian players, 4 local, 1 U23 must haves :
In wake of developing the Indian talent, an ISL franchise is mandated to have 15 Indian players of which 4 must be from the local surrounding. This helps the club gain affinity in the region. The team must also have atleast one U23 player who learns a lot off-field and the traits of the top tier football.
Broadcasted in 8 languages, over 100 countries :
ISL started the trend of multilingual broadcast and it became a big hit, especially in regions of Kerala and Bengal. Star began to telecast the league across its regional channels in the local language to gain more fans. It was a huge success. The league also transcended boundaries and was telecasted in over 100 countries with people from each of those countries vying to have a glance of their countrymen in the showdown.
Kolkata most expensive franchise in Indian Super League :
When the applications went open for the teams, it was expected to be a tough fight between several multinationals. Among all the franchises sold, Kolkata franchise was sold for the maximum at 18 crores; understandably so with football being only 2nd to rice in the region. All other franchises went for a price of 12 crores.
Auctions followed Player Drafts :
The 1st season of the ISL began with player drafts where franchises went turn by turn to pick up players from the roster with their shot at a player kept rotating between 1 to 8. There were 84 players for the domestic draft and the opening pick was Lenny Rodriguez. The international draft had 49 players with the opening pick of Bruno Cirillo. The 2nd season saw player auctions with a few stars going first up in the pool. Sunil Chhetri had the highest bid of 1.20 crores, while others followed suit as teams looked to assemble a formidable unit.
Prize Money :
The total prize money of Indian Super League is 15 crores. The winner takes home 8 crores and the rest belongs to the semi-finalists and finalist.
Delhi Dynamos FC only team with no celebrity face :
Apart from the club from the capital, all teams have celebrity faces. While other teams have banked on the celebrity power to attract crowds and fans, seems like Dynamos has banked on their star marquee signings.
Most interactions on Twitter :
ISL sees most of its interaction on social media on Twitter. ISL on Twitter garners around 67% of the total interaction. Facebook and Instagram are 2nd and 3rd.
Salary Cap on Marquees lifted :
The salary cap on marquee players doesn’t exist anymore. So a team can spend 17.5 crores on its other players first. Later they can spend whatever amount they wish to on their marquee. A marquee player cannot be a player-manager according to the new developments.
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