You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Reliance, IMG and Fox’s Star India Team to Launch Soccer League

Partners aim to boost popularity of sport in fast-growing TV market where cricket rules

IMG-Reliance and Star India have pacted to bring a super soccer league to India and foster local talent.

Jim Gallagher, spokesman for IMG Worldwide in New York, said that Reliance Enterprises, IMG and Star India will each have a one-third interest in the super league. IMG-Reliance, which is separate from IMG Worldwide — which is up for sale — is a joint venture that was set up a few years ago.  It manages IPL cricket but doesn’t own it, but the company owns the soccer IPL, Gallagher said.

Rupert Murdoch’s Star India owns broadcast and sponsorship rights to the new super soccer league and are looking to build soccer’s popularity and create as much revenue and excitement as its hugely popular Indian Premier League cricket matches. Annual revenue for football globally is estimated at $28 billion, according to a study by AT Kearney.

The Board of Cricket Control of India’s IPL leagues used Bollywood stars to boost the games in cricket-crazy India. And already some of these franchise owners have shown interest in the soccer league including Shah Rukh Khan (pictured), Ranbir Kapoor, John Abraham and Abhishek Bachchan.

The multimillion-dollar pact, which is to run 10 years, kicking off Jan. 18 and ending in March in eight cities with specific teams the league is hoping to tap into the growing interest among young people in India. The cities that are vying for the first teams include Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Delhi, Guwahati, Bangalore, Kochi and Pune.

“India is hungry for its second sport. Combining top notch infrastructure with our expertise in sports production, our attempt is to bring an unparalleled football experience to our viewers,” said Uday Shankar, CEO of Star India.

The role of Reliance-IMG, an Indian subsid of IMG Worldwide, which is up for sale, is to bring in marquee players and it has started by tapping former Manchester United striker Dwight Yorke, former Argentina striker Hernan Crespo and Arsenal’s Fredrik Ljungberg and Robert Pires.

“Football, with its largely untapped potential in the country, has the opportunity to grow to an unrivaled commercial success quite unlike any other sport. We hope the growing football footprint will pave the way for the nation’s sporting renaissance,” said Nita M. Ambani, chairwoman of IMG-Reliance.

“The Indian Super League will feature international football stars combined with good football facilities, rivalry between India’s biggest cities and the roar of a billion passionate fans,” said Mike Dolan, chairman and CEO, IMG Worldwide. “It envisions creating new football powerhouses in this part of the world, which will rise to global prominence as the country and the sport further develop.”

More TV

  • 'Death Stranding' is a 'Playground of

    'Death Stranding' is a 'Playground of Possibilities,' Will Make You Cry

    The Thursday evening conversation between game-making auteur Hideo Kojima and “Walking Dead” actor Norman Reedus about highly-anticipated PlayStation 4 game “Death Stranding” was filled with interesting anecdotes, but little in the way of hard fact. Instead, Kojima made a promise of sorts to the audience and seemingly fans everywhere waiting for more news on the [...]

  • Ariana Grande Olivia Munn Michael Che

    Celebrities vs. Critics: Why This Battle Has No Winners (Column)

    When actor Olivia Munn tweeted a “short essay on…ugly behaviors” late Wednesday night, she insisted that a blog had been unfairly maligning her for years. She wrote that she wanted to confront the idea that baseless critiques, particularly those aimed at women, are never okay no matter how famous the target may be. On the [...]

  • ‘Peaky Blinders’ Virtual Reality Game in

    ‘Peaky Blinders’ Virtual Reality Game Will Pitch Players Into the Action

    “Peaky Blinders” fans will be able to join the gang – virtually – in a new VR game that will allow players to interact with characters from the hit series. Start-up immersive studio Maze Theory teamed with the show’s producers and is making the game, which will launch in 2020. Artificial intelligence technology means characters [...]

  • TV News Roundup: HBO's 'Deadwood: The

    TV News Roundup: HBO Releases 'Deadwood: The Movie' Trailer

    In today’s TV news roundup, HBO released the trailer for the “Deadwood” film, and CNN announced a premiere date for “Apollo 11.”  DATES The documentary “Apollo 11” from director/producer Todd Douglas Miller will premiere on CNN Sunday, June 23 at 9 p.m. Using only archival sources, the film captures NASA’s 1969 Apollo 11 mission. FIRST [...]

  • shannon ryan

    Shannon Ryan Joins Disney TV, ABC as Marketing Chief

    Former Fox Television chief marketing officer Shannon Ryan has been tapped as the new president of marketing for ABC Entertainment and Disney Television Studios. The announcement was made by Karey Burke, president of ABC Entertainment, and Craig Hunegs, president of Disney Television Studios, to whom she will report. Rumours had been circling for a while [...]

  • Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce Writers

    Dan Lin's Rideback, MRC Announce First Class of Writers and Mentors for TV Incubator

    Rideback, Dan Lin’s production company, and MRC have announced the inaugural class of writers and mentors for their TV incubator.  The new TV writers residency program, which was launched in February, offers a paid, eight-month residency program to a group of writers who have each previously been staffed on series and want to create their [...]

  • CBS Viacom

    CBS and Viacom Move Closer to Merger Talks

    The CBS Corp. board of directors is moving closer to initiating acquisition discussions with Viacom, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The move has been expected for months, although there may still be obstacles on the road to a reunion for the two sides of the Redstone media empire. Price could still be [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content