ISL 2016 finds the net as season draws record TV ratings | Ratings/Measurement | News | Rapid TV News
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The finale of the Indian Super League (ISL) 2016 attracted a TV audience of 41 million, equating to a 41% ratings rise for the football tournament compared to its 2015 predecessor.

Indian Super League logo Jan 2017The TV audience figures – according to BARC data gathered from the categories of cable and satellite 4+, urban + rural, and all channels – broke all previous records for the young football tournament.

Atletico de Kolkata were crowned champions of the third ISL season, after winning a penalty shoot-out against Kerala Blasters in front of 54,000 fans in the Kochi Stadium on 18 December.

In Kerala the ISL final became the most viewed sporting event in 2016, eclipsing ratings for the 2016 T20 World Cup semi-final between India and West Indies, and the Euro 2016 football final between France and Portugal. In Kolkata’s home state of West Bengal, the ISL final drew higher TV ratings than the IPL T20 cricket finals in 2016, according to BARC data.

In total, the third season of the ISL attracted a TV audience of 216 million, compared to 207 million in 2015. There was a sharp increase in viewing figures in rural India, with a cumulative figure of 101 million. The metro markets of Mumbai and Chennai also provided 50% more viewers for the domestic football league, while Tamil Nadu recorded a cumulative 20% rise in its audience figures.

“The overwhelming response from fans is testament to the vision we have for the league, and it reaffirms our faith that Indian football is moving in right direction. The response from newer markets like Tamil Nadu and Mumbai, and further growth in established markets like West Bengal, Kerala, etc, shows the appetite for the sport. Stadium attendance, viewership numbers and growth on digital platform this season further encourages us to reset our benchmark for the season ahead,” said Nita Ambani, founder & chairperson, Football Sports Development Ltd.

The 2016 ISL season registered over double the viewing time on digital streaming platforms Hotstar and Jio from the preceding season. There were also more fans watching the matches in the stadiums, who filled on average 84% of seating capacity.

Star India’s managing director Sanjay Gupta said: “The kick-off to the Hero ISL in 2014 signified the birth of a footballing nation. This is a long-term journey, however we are very encouraged by the incredible fan affinity and increase in following of the league and the sport in a short span of three years. We had dreamt of the day when Indian footballers would emerge as sporting heroes and this season of the Hero ISL has seen many new stars emerge.

“Further the quality of play and multi-lingual, high quality broadcast content has delivered record engagement levels amongst fans. The deeper penetration of the league into urban and rural India and the explosive growth of digital consumption augurs well for the future of football in India.”