Veteran stars Alessandro Del Piero, Robert Pires, Luis Garcia, David Trezeguet and Nicolas Anelka have been signed by different city franchises in the eight-team league. (Hrithik Roshan adds more star power to ISL)
Yet in an indication of the pecking order of Indian sports, the ISL is using top cricketers to help market the game. India cricket captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and retired maestro Sachin Tendulkar are among those with stakes in teams. (MS Dhoni wants football revolution in India with ISL)
The 10-week tournament plans to nurture a strong local fan base for the world's top sport while also developing young Indian players.