The Indian Super League (ISL) is a men's professional football league in India. For sponsorship reasons, the league is officially known as the Hero Indian Super League. One of the top football leagues in the country, it currently shares the top spot in the Indian football league system with the I-League. The league comprises 10 teams and runs for five months from November to March starting with the 2017–18 season.
Founded on 21 October 2013 in partnership with IMG, Reliance Industries, and Star Sports, the Indian Super League was launched with the goal of growing football in India and to increase exposure to the sport in the country. The league's first season took place in 2014 with eight teams. During the first three seasons of the Indian Super League, the league operated without official recognition from the Asian Football Confederation, the governing body for the sport in Asia. The league also operated along the same lines of the Indian Premier League, the country's premier Twenty20 cricket competition, with the league campaign lasting for only two to three months and matches being held every day. However, before the 2017–18 season, the league earned recognition from the AFC, expanded to ten teams, and extended its schedule to five months, with matches played mainly on weekends.
Unlike most football leagues around the world, the Indian Super League does not use promotion and relegation, instead choosing to grow the league through expansion, similar to Major League Soccer in the United States. Since the league's inaugural season, two teams have been crowned champions. ATK won the title for the second time during the 2016 season. The title meant that they have the most championships in ISL history as they were also crowned champions in 2014. Chennaiyin are the only other club to be crowned champions after they won in 2015.Close