Is the Indian Super League (ISL), the country’s biggest football competition, without a title sponsor? The season starts on September 21 and this could be the first time since inception in 2014 that it may not have one.
Hero MotoCorp, the Indian multi-national with the biggest market share in the country’s two-wheeler business, was the title sponsor from 2014 to 2022-23. But the ISL website on Tuesday listed Virtua and Nivia as official partners. The website of the All India Football Federation (AIFF) though had the company’s logo where it has listed fixtures for this season’s ISL.
Apart from ISL, the company was also the title sponsor of the I-League, India’s second tier men’s competition, since 2014. And for the women’s league, national championships and the national teams. The company also sponsored the Inter-continental Cup, an invitation-only men’s international competition.
Hero MotoCorp has sponsorship commitment across sport. It has invested heavily in golf, with the Hero World Challenge, an annual feature on the PGA Tour, being a top attraction. It also invests in motor sport and till 2022 was the title sponsor of the Caribbean Premier League T20 competition.
“We are one of the largest global corporate promoters of various sporting disciplines,” the company’s website says.
An official aware of the development said the contract had finished and has not been renewed yet. Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), which organises ISL and is AIFF’s commercial partner, did not return HT’s calls for a comment.