Showtime Group Creates A Show-Stopping Opening Ceremony for Hero ISL 2016

Entertainment | November 9, 2016 | News

Showtime Group ISL Alia Bhatt Abhishek Bachchan

Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati was the host of the Opening Ceremony of the 3rd edition of the Hero Indian Super League that took place on October 1.  Appointed by FSDL, Star Sports, and Reliance-IMG, Showtime Group was entrusted with the responsibility of managing the event for the second time in a row. The ceremony saw a packed house with more than 35,000 football fans converging at the Indira Gandhi stadium to witness a one-of-its-kind experience that set the mood for the start of the tournament.

The IG Stadium, Guwahati has previously been host to a myriad of sporting events and perhaps several opening ceremonies. However, the Hero ISL Season 3 OC is sure to go down in history as a truly Olympian effort hitherto not witnessed.

While protocol-related criteria were to be addressed with due diligence, Showtime had to raise the bar this season to give appropriate and adequate expression to its other core thought – fun and unparalleled entertainment for the spectators of ‘the beautiful game’, 35,000 of who were present in the stadium, while millions of football fans across four continents were watching the live broadcast of the ceremony.

The agency decided to go ahead with technology and its immersive use to create engaging experiences at the event. Yet, technology had to be weaved into a cogent and an emotionally powerful story spiced with regional flavours to make an impact.

The chapters of this spectacle unfolded one after the other, with every sequence blowing the minds of an ever-responsive fan base with splendor, charisma, and passion!

The Field Of Play is central to a Sporting Ceremony and therefore it is imperative to use it to showcase the event. However, the FOP is a sacrosanct space that simply cannot be intruded upon in any manner especially when there has to be a 90-minute football match immediately proceeding the ceremony.

Showtime came up with the novel idea of driving in and erecting  a mobile stage at the center of the FoP. The agency’s technical team in conjunction with the league’s pitch experts designed a drivable aluminum and wood paneled circular stage that sat atop the only permissible equipment on the field – Hydro Super Soppers. The stage drove in 15 minutes before the ceremony was to begin and drove out as soon as the ceremony was done leaving in its wake a perfectly protected football pitch ready for a football match.

Every element and every segment, be it the protocol deliveries like the pledge-taking, introduction of the ceremonial match ball or the other indulgent showcases were carefully detailed out so as to give the fans a superlative level of entertainment and wow them.

A suspense voice-over countdown welcomed the crowd with announcements every fifteen minutes, starting an hour before the show and the climax of the event was visibly built up by the time the moment of reckoning arrived.

A musically-inspired digital pixel enabled mass cast countdown brought the pitch to life and had the crowd already roaring when Jacqueline Fernandez blitzed the stage with a riveting Bollywood dance sequence. And as it came to a finish, came the next snapdragon as North East FC United owner John Abraham rode in on an ATV with a brigade of bikers from the North East. The owner of the defending champions Abhishek Bachchan followed next with the tournament trophy even as the pathway to the stage lit up in sheer brilliance while he walked up.

An inimitable star cast – John, Abhishek Bachchan, M. S. Dhoni and master blaster Sachin Tendulkar took to the stage to introduce the leading teams and took the ceremonial pledge before Alia Bhatt fired the stage with her performance. Following the sequence, a mandatory protocol – the HISL Anthem “Let’s Football” – was enlivened by Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Jacqueline on the stage.

Even as the star cast was in full bloom, technology had a ball, with Pixel Mob creating a stunning radio-frequency driven kinetic lighting sequence that transformed the Field of Play into a mélange of crazy, colorful and unimaginable magic.

There were several other classic moments in the story - fantastic fireworks above the stadium, cold pyro bursts on the perimeter of the stage, Sachin’s entry on a motorized glowing neon elephant symbolizing the Kerala Blasters FC logo, Pixel cast act with varying lighting effects depicting graphic equalizers during Alia’s performance and the Drums of North East sequence on stage that echoed the beats of the region.

Towards the end of the ceremony, the pixel cast opened the metallic umbrellas that formed the map of India to perfect precision and that became the surface for a Projection film on the revolution in Indian Football brought on by the Hero Indian Super League . The Map of India then burst to life with the magnificent colors of the Hero ISL’s colors to form the backdrop for a perfect Selfie moment for all the Stars on stage with the league chairperson Nita Ambani. With the ceremony complete, what concluded it was a solemn rendition of the National Anthem by Shillong Chamber Choir that was a fitting finale to salute a nation of avid footballers!

Commenting on the success of the sporting extravaganza Showtime Group’s Managing Director Avik Prabhu had this to say:  “The complexity and ambition of the ceremony worried me at first. But the detail, diligence, and attitude that my team approached the planning stage with and then the commitment and drive they showed on-site allowed them to deliver this ceremony with immaculate precision. What stood out for me when I watched them at work from Day 1 to D-day was how every single interaction, meeting and moment was a “Showtime” moment –you know, that moment in which you must put your best foot forward. This concept and design only became a reality because at every moment along the way the team lived the show business credo of “It’s Showtime!”, i.e. It's a moment of truth, and then they transcended it. They proved to me that at Showtime, It’s ALWAYS Showtime!”

Indira Gandhi Stadium in Guwahati was the host of the Opening Ceremony of the 3rd edition of the Hero Indian Super League that took place on October 1.

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