With the inaugural Indian Super League (ISL) just months away, there is plenty of marketing and advertising being done to let the world know about football’s next big thing. As international players, some of whom are legends of the game, get drafted and rosters finalized, there has been one consistent variable since the league’s conception.
Yes, the cricketer. Rather, the legend.
Tendulkar, owner of ISL’s Kerala Blasters, has been at the forefront of the league’s management, helping to bring in investors and sponsorships.
“There is a lot of sporting talent in the country, but no platform to showcase the talent. Perhaps ISL is the answer,” Tendulkar said at the launch in Mumbai.
In a sports-loving nation, Tendulkar understands the potential of sports in India – both as a fan and businessman. No longer is cricket the only option for a young athlete, as pro leagues in a variety of sports have now been formed.
Tendulkar’s leadership helps establish the league as a legitimate one. His support, at least within India, is as close to a indication of success in the sports business as there will be.
“My vision for India is sport for all. It is not about being professional but staying healthy and fit,” he said.
The ISL season runs from October 12 to December 20, with eight teams set to compete. Each team represents either a city or region, and most franchises have connections with Europeans football franchises. For example, Atletico Madrid of La Liga co-owns Atletico Kolkata.