The other ISL: analysing the finances of the Indian Super League (football) and its franchisees

Sarthak Mondal*, Daniel Plumley, Rob Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Rationale: This paper conducts a holistic performance analysis of the Indian Super League (ISL) football competition and its member franchisees between 2014–2015 and 2019–2020 with a particular focus on financial and sporting performance metrics. 

Methodology: The study utilises the PAM for professional football teams which consists of eight financial indicators and three sporting indicators. The data for this research were obtained by dissecting the annual accounts of ten ISL franchisees between 2014–2015 and 2019–2020 season. 

Findings: The results (at both franchisee and league level) show financial problems that have, in some ways, stunted growth of the ISL. Many franchisees have reported poor financial performance for the period of the study and there are problems with debt and profitability. As a result, our findings show that for this study, there is also no statistical evidence that having better financial health leads to superior sporting performance in the ISL to date. 

Practical implications: The ISL face challenges at governance level due to its peculiar structure and arrangements between the league, franchisees, and broadcasters. Financial performance has been an issue since the inception of the league and franchisees have cost control issues that have been commonplace in other major sporting leagues around the globe. Despite being in its infancy stage, the warning signs can lead to stagnation and regression of the league in the future, if not addressed properly.

Original languageEnglish
JournalManaging Sport and Leisure
Early online date24 Mar 2022
Publication statusEarly online - 24 Mar 2022


  • financial performance
  • Indian football
  • ISL
  • performance measurement
  • sporting performance

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