Indian motorcycle and scooter manufacturer Hero MotoCorp has signed up as the title sponsor of the Indian Super League franchise football tournament, which has attracted investment from a variety of domestic and international parties.
The agreement will run for three years, from 2014 to 2016, and will lead to the competition being called the Hero Indian Super League. The deal was agreed with IMG-Reliance, the joint venture between the IMG agency and the Reliance conglomerate that promotes the new tournament.
“The Indian Super League is a timely initiative and we are delighted to be partners in this journey for the common goal of promoting football in the country,” Hero managing director and chief executive Pawan Munjal said. “As the title sponsor of the league, we are happy to being catalysts in bringing in much-needed professionalism and promote the game at the grass roots level to help identify and promote local talent.”
Uday Shankar, the chief executive of pay-television broadcaster and the league’s rights-holder, Star India, added: “The Hero name brings with it credibility, commitment and passion to the cause of sports.”
In April, the likes of Spanish Liga club Atletico Madrid, cricket legends Sachin Tendulkar (pictured) and Sourav Ganguly and Bollywood stars were confirmed as owners of the eight teams that will compete in the new competition. Bids were invited for prospective teams in the nine cities of Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Goa, Guwahati, Kochi, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune. Organisers elected not to place a team in Chennai.
However, the actual start date of the tournament remains in doubt after Star India asked for the start of the Indian Super League to be delayed to avoid a clash with the Champions League Twenty20 cricket tournament.
The Champions League Twenty20 tournament is due to start on September 7, while the All India Football Federation has given IMG-Reliance a window of between September 18 and December 7 for the Indian Super League to take place.