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Hero looks to ride the football wave with Indian Super League

MUMBAI: After exiting from cricket sponsorship, Hero MotoCorp is deepening its association with other sports. The two-wheeler manufacturer has signed a three-year title sponsorship deal with the Indian Super League (ISL), the first-of-its-kind franchise-based football league in the country.

With this sponsorship, the much-awaited new football league, promoted by IMG-Reliance and Star India, will be called the ‘Hero Indian Super League’.

Synonymous with some of the marquee Indian as well as global sports partnerships, Hero MotoCorp has for long had a steadfast commitment towards promoting various disciplines of sports including cricket, hockey and golf.

Currently, the brand is associated with hockey in a big way as the official sponsor of the International Hockey Federation and the Hockey India League. In cricket, Hero was associated with the International Cricket Council (ICC), Indian Premier League (IPL), and IPL team Mumbai Indians.

Hero MotoCorp MD and CEO Pawan Munjal said, “Football is not just the world’s most popular game; it has today become a phenomenon sweeping across continents. I witnessed this myself while moving from one Brazilian city to another to watch the games at the recent World Cup. Like every other part of the world, India is also in the grip of this magic called football as millions of youngsters across the country are taking to the game with enthusiasm.

“The Indian Super League, therefore, is a timely initiative, and we are delighted to be partners in this journey for the common goal of promoting football in the country. As the Title Sponsor of the league, we are happy to be catalysts in bringing in much-needed professionalism and promote the game at the grassroots level to help identify and promote local talent.”

Star India CEO Uday Shankar said, “The Hero name brings with it credibility, commitment and passion to the cause of sports. I am deeply pleased because Hero and Pawan Munjal are true ambassadors of sports with a commitment that goes beyond sponsorship. It is great to see them take centre-forward position to support ISL and the future of Indian football. We feel honoured and privileged to present the Hero Indian Super League to the growing base of Indian football fans.”

Backed by the All India Football Federation (AIFF), the ISL is set to usher in a new era of football in India. Featuring eight new clubs, the Hero Indian Super League aims to promote the game of football across India, in the newer markets and foster young local talent to take up the sport professionally.

Each team at the Hero Indian Super League will have a minimum squad strength of 22 players, including one marquee player, seven internationals and 14 Indian talents. Additionally, a team can increase its squad by five more players of its choice, outside the central player pool draft.

The eight clubs participating in the Hero Indian Super League includes Atletico de Kolkata, Delhi Dynamos FC, NorthEast United FC, Kerala Blasters FC, Team Goa, Team Pune, Team Mumbai and Team Bangalore.