Indian Super League 2021-22: ISL Has Yet to Bloom But Has Huge Potential On The Global Scale

Indian Super League 2021-22: ISL Has Yet to Bloom But Has Huge Potential On The Global Scale

The Indian Super League (ISL) remains a relatively new professional football league as it was only formed in 2013 with the 2021-22 currently ongoing in the marquee league

Although at this moment in time it has yet to really make its mark as a leading brand in the sport, it has huge potential.

Being able to compete with the biggest leagues in the world of football will take time. The league will be considering a range of marketing strategies to help them do that. One option could be through online casino games. There are currently a range of football-related games such as Football Glory and Football Champions Cup, but none of them are branded and hold the licensing for a particular league. The ISL could help raise awareness for their league with such a move.

ISL 2021-22: How Can The Indian Super League Make Traction On The Global Stage

Another option could be marketing through video games. The Premier League in England has done an excellent job off the field to promote its brand. It has a partnership with the FIFA video game, which is very popular around the world. All the stadium names are included on the game, as well as player faces.

It would also be a good move for the ISL to open offices in major cities around the world such as New York, London, and Paris. They can then focus their marketing strategy in that region, as other major football leagues have done.

Traditionally, cricket has been the number one sport in India. You only have to look at the success of the Indian Premier League (IPL) to see how much the country loves cricket. The IPL attracts the best players from different nations and has huge television audiences every year. The challenge the ISL has it to make its football league appealing to the wider population.

OneFootball extended their broadcasting rights to the ISL in November 2021. They now stream matches for free in over 200 countries. This will benefit the league as more people should tune in to the 2021/22 season.

Biggest Transfers to the ISL Till Date

The ISL has been able to attract some big-name players to the league from Europe since 2013, however, these marquee stars have arrived at the back end of their careers where they were past their best.

French strikers David Trezeguet and Nicolas Anelka are two of those who have spells in the ISL. Trezeguet, who is a World Cup winner, played nine games for Pune City in 2014, scoring two goals in his spell there. Anelka featured 13 times for Mumbai City between 2014 and 2015. The former Chelsea and Real Madrid player scored twice in the league. Although their spells were brief, they did generate a lot of interest in the ISL.

Brazilians Elano, Lucio, and Roberto Carlos have also appeared in the league. Elano was the most successful of those three players. He played two seasons for Chennaiyin (2014-2015) and scored 12 goals in his time in India. The former Manchester City attacking midfielder won the Golden Boot and helped his side to the league title in 2015.


The teams in the ISL will have seen the money spent in China in the Chinese Super League to attract some of the best players and managers in the world. Many players have arrived in China during the peak stages of their career. The lure of lucrative contracts has helped them do that.

Each team in the Chinese Super League can register five foreign players to their squad. Having a limit on foreign players ensures the teams develop homegrown talent and don’t just rely on signing established names from Europe and South America.

There is no doubt the signings of some the biggest stars in Europe has helped the quality of the Chinese Super League. Broadcasters and sponsors have noticed this and are now wanting to be involved in the league in some capacity.

One of the aims of the ISL over the next few years will be to try and sign more marquee players from the top European leagues. If they prove successful in that approach, it will help the league take the next step forward.

Would The Indian National Football Team Benefit From A Stronger ISL?

If the quality of the ISL does improve, there is a good chance that it will be mirrored with the India national team. India have never played at a FIFA World Cup finals and that is the goal of the All India Football Federation.


The next opportunity to qualify for a World Cup will come ahead of the 2026 edition of the tournament. The finals are scheduled to take place in Canada, Mexico, and the United States.

There are signs that India are improving as a national football team. At the AFC Asian Cup qualification for the 2019 tournament, they won six of their eight games. That’s the most matches they have won in the qualification for the AFC Asian Cup.

The reigning SAFF Championship winners suffered just two defeats in 2021. They lost heavily to the United Arab Emirates and were then beaten by Qatar 0-1 in a tight contest in Doha. Victories came over Bangladesh, Nepal, and the Maldives.

With a population of 1.3 billion, India have a huge pool of players to choose from. If they can convince the next generation of Indians to choose football over cricket, they have a great chance of becoming a nation that can certainly be a big force in Asia.


Many of the next generation are watching the Premier League, La Liga, and Bundesliga. If more of them consume the ISL, it could inspire them to become professional football players too.

It would also help the national team if some of their players broke into teams in Europe. No Indian player currently features across the major leagues in India. There have been some who have come close in the past. Yan Dhanda signed for Liverpool in 2015 but he never featured for the senior team.

Many Premier League teams have pre-season tours in India, so the sport is becoming increasingly popular in the country. It may never surpass cricket as the number one sport, but both can thrive, like they do in other regions of the world such as England and South Africa.

The ISL is a league that could really start to fulfill its potential over the next few years. If organizers get it right, it may soon be the leading league in Asia.

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