Two of the most-watched live events in Indian sports have contrasting life stories, reflecting how the games are governed by their respective national associations. The Indian Super League (ISL) and the Indian Premier League (IPL) grab the largest eyeballs, but seen as a product, one pales into insignificance beside the other. One of India’s wealthiest corporate houses, Reliance, has a stake in both ISL and IPL. The Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL), a Reliance subsidiary, fully controls the ISL, a tournament officially owned by the All India Football Federation. Five-time IPL champions Mumbai Indians are also owned by the Ambanis.
ISL has a market value of $57.59 million (Rs 420 crore) according to Football information website Transfermarkt. IPL is valued at a jaw-dropping $6.8 billion (Rs 47,500 crore) according to a 2019 Duff & Phelps report. IPL’s top-ranked team, Mumbai Indians’ (MI) brand value is Rs 809 crore, while ISL’s top-valued franchise Kerala Blasters FC is worth Rs 48.5 crore. These numbers indicate the gulf between India’s top sports league and its most valuable football property.