The first week ratings of the inaugural season of Hero Indian Super League (ISL) showed a good start, recording a reach of 74.7 million on the launch day and a reach of 170.6 million in the first week according to TAM data of CS4+ viewers. These numbers make it the second highest viewed sports tournament after the IPL in India.
However, it has to be noted that this reach in viewership are cumulative reach numbers across eight channels, which include Star Sports 2 (English), Star Sports HD2 (English), Star Sports 3 (Hindi), Star Gold (Hindi), Star Utsav (Hindi), Asianet Movies (Malayalam), Jalsha Movies (Bengali) and Suvarna Plus (Kannada), instead of one or two channel’s such as in the case of IPL and the FIFA World Cup 2014. Also, reach is calculated by the number of viewers who have watched it for a period of at least one minute.
According to Star Sports the ratings are 12 times FIFA World Cup 2014 opening day and double of the opening week reach for the FIFA World Cup 2014 (6.3 million day 1 reach and 87.2 million week 1 reach), which was broadcast on Sony SIX and Sony Aath. It has to be noted that due to FIFA being played in Brazil, games in India during the first week began much later (from 09:30 pm onwards), with some matches being played after midnight. While with ISL matches start 06:30 pm onwards.
It has also overtaken the launch reach of other domestic sports tournaments in India such as the Pro Kabaddi League which was 66 million (which took place a few months before the ISL), the Calcutta Football League which was 4.3 million, the English Premiere League which was 1.8 million and the I-League which was 1 million.
Commenting on this Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India in a press release said, “The early success of the Hero Indian Super League has been phenomenal as millions of fans have thronged to watch the action – on television, on digital and in-stadia. This is a historic moment in the era of sports in India as fans embrace the global game and see a quality of football never witnessed before being played in India. This is the first step in a long journey of making India a footballing nation and providing the platform for future champions to emerge. The endeavour has been to create a world class tournament to global production standards with the ubiquitous reach and platform of the Star network. We thank our fans for their belief and will redouble our efforts to make this a truly spectacular tournament.”
ISL also did well on its digital platform starsports.com as the website traffic recorded during the first two days was approximately 800,000 visits, which is 80% of the average IPL viewership on starsports.com, said the network. They also stated that the league had recorded 5 million visits over the opening week and that no other non-cricket event has seen such digital traction in India.
On social media platforms ISL recorded 2.5 billion potential impressions. The network further claims that within 24 hours of the kick off of ISL, the league dominated Twitter trends in India with all 10 topics trending and 15 out of 17 topics on mobile. On Facebook #IndiaSuperLeague is said to have trended number 1 , according to the network.