The Indian Super League: it’s a football league that happens in India, and has even been contended to be the future of Indian football. There’s not really that much to it now, is there? That’s where you’re wrong! Here we have compiled a list of 7 things that you probably didn’t know about the ISL; after all it’s a league that goes way beyond just a field with two goalposts!
1. 7 billion dollars were spent on the ISL way back in 2010!
That’s right, Reliance Industries along with International Management Group signed a 15 year, 7 billion dollar deal with the All India Football Federation on the 9th of December, 2010. This deal gave IMG-Reliance all the rights to create a completely new football league from scratch.
2. It initially began in Bengal, until it didn’t work out
On 25th April 2011, the first version of the football league was officially launched. This league was supposed to have six franchises based in West Bengal itself and was to feature top players such as Robert Pirès and Robbie Fowler. Unfortunately, the league never took place and after being postponed to 2012 was finally disbanded in 2013 due to financial reasons.
3. Loius Saha was to become the first marquee signing for the ISL
In October 2013, it was officially announced that Louis Saha was to become the first marquee player for the ISL. Unfortunately, it did not work out as the league was disbanded that year.
4. Atlético De Kolkata announced the first official marquee signing in the ISL
The first team to be officially launched was Atlético De Kolkata on the 7th of May, 2014. Following this, Kolkata also announced the first official marquee signing in the ISL when they signed UEFA Champions League winner, Luis García, an ex-Liverpool player.
5. 24 crore was spent during the Indian players draft!
The first ever draft of the ISL for Indian players was held on the 22nd of July, 2014. It included players such as Subrata Pal and Mehtab Hossain. At the end of the draft, it was reported that a total of Rs 24 crore was spent on Indian players, that’s more than twice the price of a Buggatti Veyron!
6. Balwant Singh was the first Indian footballer to score a goal in the ISL
Chennaiyin FC player Balwant Singh was the first Indian to score a goal in the ISL in his first match. That match ended with a score of 2-1, with Chennaiyin FC emerging victorious.
7. It was the first sporting event to reach 85% of India’s television audience
As of September 2014, the ISL was the first sporting event to reach 85% of India’s television audience. In fact, Fox News even agreed to telecast the matches of the ISL in Australia!