ISL7 kick-off to mark country’s 1st major post-COVID tourney

ISL Trophy

MUMBAI: The stage is set for Friday's kick-off in Goa of much awaited seventh edition of the Hero Indian Super League (ISL), the country’s first major tournament to be organised since the enforcement of a COVID-19 lockdown eight months ago.

The ISL marks the resumption of live sports action in India with the entire season being played in Goa behind closed doors in view of the pandemic. The 2020-21 season features 115 games amongst 11 teams, with the inclusion of Kolkata giants ATK Mohun Bagan and SC East Bengal.

The opening fixture features ATK Mohun Bagan and Kerala Blasters FC at the GMC Stadium in Bambolim, Goa.

As per the protocols shared with the cubs, everyone involved with the tournament will be required to provide daily health updates through an app especially designed for this purpose. All the teams have been staying in a bio-secure environment since their arrival in the coastal state.

The ISL has also formed a central medical team and employed a League Hygiene Officer who will issue operational directives and ensure implementation of the same through the tournament.

The ISL has also mandated that the clubs hire a Hygiene Officer of their own who will be in charge of ensuring the health and safety of the players/team officials throughout the season.

Live telecast across 82 territories worldwide
With live action to be telecast and live streamed in 82 territories across the world, the ISL will be brought to 82 international territories through five partners across TV and digital platforms.

The league has partnered with global sports broadcasters to bring the action live to millions of Indian football fans across geographies. In addition to international markets including USA and Australia, fans across Continental Europe, Central Asia, Far East, South East Asia, and Asia Pacific can also tune in to enjoy India’s premier football league live.

Official broadcasting partner Star Network will exclusively telecast ISL matches in India on Star Sports 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 2 SD & HD (English); Star Sports Hindi 1 SD & HD, Star Sports 3, Star Gold 2 (Hindi), Asianet Plus, Asianet Movies (Malayalam); Star Sports Bangla; Star Sports Kannada; Star Sports Tamil; Star Sports Telugu and Star Sports Marathi. Online streaming will be available on Disney+ Hotstar VIP and JioTV.

List of international broadcasters and live streaming partners:
ESPN + : USA & Canada

Fox Sports : Australia

1Play Sports (YouTube channel and Facebook page): Singapore, Indonesia (Genflix), Malaysia, Thailand, Vietnam, Philippines, Brunei, Laos, Cambodia, Myanmar, Hong Kong, Macau

Yupp TV: Albania, Andorra, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Belgium, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Georgia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Faroe Islands, Italy, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Macedonia, Malta, Moldova, Monaco, Montenegro, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, San Marino, Vatican City, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, Ukraine, Uzbekistan

Digicel PNG (TVWan Action) : Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Solomons, Samoa, Cook Islands, Vanuatu, American Samoa, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Niue, Tokelau, Tahiti, New Caledonia, Tonga, Nauru

Asianet Plus: Middle East

Jalsha Movies SD: Middle East and Bangladesh

Jalsha Movies HD: Maldives and Bangladesh

Advertising and Sponsorship
According to Livemint, official broadcaster Disney Star India is expected to corner around Rs 2 billion from on-air ad revenues on Star Sports and Disney+ Hotstar.

As for the clubs, the lack of opportunities around on‐ground activations as matches will be played behind closed doors will certainly hit bottom lines. As per Livemint, sponsorship revenues of between Rs 70 million and Rs 100 million will be the ball park as far as on ground ad revenues go this season.  

This means that the share from the central revenue pool will be what the clubs are banking on. 

Speaking of revenues, find below the sponsor roster for the ISL as well as individual franchises (incomplete for some teams):  

Central Sponsors

Title - Hero MotoCorp
Associate - DHL
Official - Apollo Tyres, Nivia, Himalaya
Official Fantasy Football Partner - Dream11 

ATK Mohun Bagan
Main sponsor - SBOTOP
Kit manufacturer - Nivia
Co-sponsors - MP Birla Cement, SRMB TMT Bar

Bengaluru FC
Main sponsor - JSW
Kit manufacturer - Puma
Co-sponsors - Nissin, Bangalore Baptist Hospital, Inspire Institute of Sport Vijayanagara
Official Partner - Dafanews 

Chennaiyin FC
Principal Sponsors  - Apollo Tyres, Dafanews 
Kit Manufacturer - PayTM First Games
Associate Sponsors - Nippon Paint, SSVM Institutions 
Co-Sponsor - PVR Cinemas

FC Goa
Official sponsor - Kingfisher
Kit Manufacturer - Six5Six

Hyderabad FC
Kit Manufacturers - T10 Sports

Jamshedpur FC
Main Sponsors - Tata Steel
Kit Manufacturers - Nivia

Kerala Blasters
Title Sponsor - BYJU'S
Official Sponsor - Haeal, Jain Tubes
Main Sponsor - Skyfoam, Moschip
Associate Sponsors - Pari Match News, Save Box
Supporting Sponsor - Ewire
Official Kit Partner - Reyaur  
Performance Partner - StatSports
Official Nutrition Partner - Body First
Official Mask Partner - Gym Slave

Mumbai City
Principal Partner - Dafa News
Kit Partner - Puma
Airline Partner - Etihad

NorthEast United
Shirt Sponsor - Federal Bank
Kit Manufacturer - Performax

Odisha FC
Shirt Sponsor - Odisha Sports
Kit Manufacturer - T10 Sports

SC East Bengal
Shirt Sponsor - Shree Cement
Co-Sponsor - Top Tech TML  

ISL 2020 on Twitter
In a bid to bring the football frenzy closer to the fans, the ISL has teamed up with social media platform Twitter for league-specific emojis. While tweeting about the Hero ISL, fans can use hashtags such as #LetsFootball or #ISLTwitter to show their love for the league.

This tie-up will also see the clubs use their own hashtags, which fans can use to cheer their favourite teams on matchdays. Every hashtag will throw up an attractive emoji. 

Club hashtags
SC East Bengal: #WeAreSCEB or #ChhilamAchiThakbo
Jamshedpur FC: #JamKeKhelo or #जमकेखेलो
Odisha FC: #OdishaFC or #ଆମଟିମ୍ଆମଗେମ୍
Bengaluru FC: #WeAreBFC or #ನಮ್ಮಬೆಂಗಳೂರು ​
Mumbai City FC: #MumbaiCity or #AamchiCity
Kerala Blasters FC: #WhyWePlay or #YennumYellow
Hyderabad FC: #HyderabadFC or #HarKadamNayaDum
Chennaiyin FC: #AllInForChennaiyin or #AattamReloaded
FC Goa: #ForcaGoa or #RiseAgain
ATK Mohun Bagan FC: #Mariners​ or #JoyMohunBagan
NorthEast United FC: #StrongerAsOne or #NEUFC

Technological Innovations 
The ISL has introduced new technological innovations for fans to engage with their favourite clubs. To soak in the experience and be a part of the team's biggest fixtures, fans can register on the dedicated Fan Zone on the ISL website where they can stand a chance to be featured LIVE on the stadium Fan Walls.

There will be 2 LED screens that will feature fans from the home team and the away team, thus amplifying the rivalry virtually in a bid to enhance the viewing experience.

Along with this enhanced audio for the game, an additional mix of cameras and further access to the players through pre-and-post-match shows will ensure that fans remain close to all the action even beyond the field.

"Fans are an integral part of the Hero ISL which is the first major sporting league to be played in the country during these unprecedented times. With the addition of new teams and all the international partnerships, this season is expected to be more thrilling. Using technology, we will make sure that fans do not miss out on the action while also ensuring that the essence of the game is not lost," a Star Sports spokesperson said in a press release.

"The innovative fan walls and an array of additional cameras on the field of play will bring fans closer to the game than ever before. It is our constant endeavour to keep raising the bar by introducing the latest technological innovations for an enhanced viewing experience," the spokesperson added.

A few select fans will also get the opportunity to interact with experts and special guests during the pre and post-match shows.