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ISL season 2 to kick off on 3 Oct

MUMBAI: The second season of the Indian Super League (ISL) will kick off on 3 October featuring 61 games spread over 79 days, the promoter Football Sports Development Pvt Ltd (FSDPL), a joint venture between IMG, Reliance Industries and Star India, has said.

The league stage will witness 56 games in a home and away format, followed by two-legged semi-finals starting 11 December with the ‘Super Sunday’ final scheduled on 20 December at a pre-decided venue to be announced later. All the matches will kick off at 1900 hours (IST).

Chennaiyin FC will host the opener when they take on the might of Hero ISL defending champions Atletico de Kolkata on 3 October at their home ground Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium. The action will then move to Goa the next day with FC Goa pitted against Delhi Dynamos FC. Fans in Mumbai will witness the ‘Maharashtra Derby’ on 5 October when Mumbai City FC locks horns with FC Pune City at DY Patil Stadium, Navi Mumbai.

The Hero ISL bandwagon will reach Kerala on 6 October when last year’s runners-up Kerala Blasters FC play their first home fixture against North East United FC. The newly laid pitch at Salt Lake Stadium, Kolkata will be put to test for its first big match night when Atletico de Kolkata tussle with archrivals FC Goa on 7 October. Delhi Dynamos FC, FC Pune City, and North East United FC will host their first home matches on 8, 9, and 16 October respectively.

The inaugural year of the ISL witnessed an unprecedented response in the history of Indian football, achieving a rare feat of being the fourth most-watched football league in the world. For the first time in Indian football, globally renowned players like Alessandro Del Piero, Nicolas Anelka, Robert Pires, Fredrik Ljungberg, David James, Luis Garcia, David Trezeguet, Elano Blumer, and Joan Capdevila played alongside the best Indian football talents.

ISL’s first edition saw participation of footballers from 36 varied nationalities, including India. The globally viewed tournament had a whopping 129 goals scored at an average of 2.11 goals per game.

Over 1.5 million fans made their way to eight city-based clubs’ home stadiums to witness this unrivalled footballing event unfold. The inaugural season of Hero ISL was watched by 429 million viewers on TV in India, more than 2.5 times of the viewership of 2014 FIFA World Cup.

The social media presence of the ISL has grown exponentially since the inaugural season with over 1.7 million ‘likes’ on the its official Facebook page in addition to another 120 thousands that follow @IndSuperLeague on Twitter.

The ISL website indiansuperleague.com received 3.4 million unique visitors and over 28 million page views over the duration of the league with a record of 32 million online views on starsports.com, making it the largest football event ever on digital in India.