Grigorishin: Next ISL Season Will Feature 27 Meets and 2 Additional Teams

Heading into the home stretch of the first International Swimming League (ISL) season, mainstream media coverage has often focused on how the league is going to remain financially viable given a lack of sponsors and relatively low ticket sales for a professional sports league. But in an interview with the Washington Post’s Rick Maese earlier this week, founder and financial backer Konstantin Grigorishin said that he’s seen enough proof already that the league will be successful.

“I think all of this [fast swimming, ticket sales and meet atmosphere] confirms my hypothesis that the public is hungry for swimming,” Grigorishin said. He added that he expected “financial struggles” at the outset of the league, but expects sponsors to get on board now that one season is in the books.

“We’re in the most tough financial stage. We’re investing the money,” Grigorishin said. “But how do you convince a sponsor to sponsor something that does not exist? Now we have a product.”

Grigorishin thinks that next year’s Olympics will lead to an increased interest in the pro league, and added that season two will include two new teams and a whopping 27 meets (there are seven this year) that will run from September to April — that’s at least a meet every week throughout the season.

Maese’s report also included some attendance numbers from this season. While the meets haven’t looked particularly well-attended, the league says it has had some sellouts. The first meet in Indianapolis saw “between 700 and 1,000” people each day, while the Dallas stop sold out with 1,000 fans. The matches in Naples were reported as near-sellouts with 1,600 attendees, and Budapest meet sold approximately 2,200 tickets each day, according to the Post.

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Thomas
1 year ago

Interesting how Europe saw larger numbers. Were they larger natatoriums? Or maybe Europeans are just naturally more interested in SCM

Troyy
Reply to  Thomas
1 year ago

The US meets didn’t sell out so it seems unlikely they were limited by natatorium sizes.

NONA
Reply to  Thomas
1 year ago

There are no adult tickets left for this week’s US Derby, and the tickets were much more expensive than other locations.

N80M80
Reply to  NONA
1 year ago

DC has a big swim culture and an actual team for their area

Swimmer
Reply to  Thomas
1 year ago

Swimming is a big sport in Hungary and Italy, that’s the reason

Eagleswim
1 year ago

The pool of available swimmers wouldn’t be very competitive, I wonder how they will decide the rosters for the two new teams

Ol' Longhorn
Reply to  Eagleswim
1 year ago

They will look at the NYBreakers roster…and then not do that.

Canswim13
1 year ago

This will be interesting especially after the Olympics, where there tends to be some retirements of big names . I love the idea of a high caliber meet every week but would prefer quality over quantity

Dolamite
Reply to  Canswim13
1 year ago

This league may reduce the number of big post-Olympic retirements. Swimmers may stay on for another year or two with more chances at money from the league and from sponsorships.

Troyy
1 year ago

27 meets seems a bit much. 😮 I wonder what the other teams will be and how they will fit them into the format?

Swimmer
Reply to  Troyy
1 year ago

ONEflow and an American team

2Fat4Speed
1 year ago

I think it may be too many meets. Having less makes them more special and I think more likely to have the best swimmers swimming in a high percentage of the meets. We already have seen that swimmers are not committing to 100% of the meets.

I also think having the meets in smaller venues that sellout creates a better atmosphere.

Jeff
1 year ago

Hopefully, Grigorishin realises that 27 meets is a bit extreme. Could work though if they mix it up a bit so some meets feature 2 teams as if that is a week per match the next that gives the times that compete on week 1, 5 weeks to recover for the next round.
Also, as has been said many times at SwimSwam they will only be able to get ten teams if they can get Asia involved (especially people from China and Japan).

Jeff
Reply to  Jeff
1 year ago

That should say the teams that compete on week 1, will get 5 weeks to recover between matches if they do 2 teams at each round.

N80M80
1 year ago

First they need to do a redraft of teams and make sure all the swimmers show up

Yozhik
1 year ago

No T-short now. He is getting serious. When there be suit and tie FINA’s carefree times will come to the end. 😀 On the other hand as soon as ISL happens to be a noticeably profitable business Grigorishin will run into serious competition from another grigorishins who also want some piece of the pie. Asian business will compete for Australians swimmers and Americans will decided that they don’t really need those European travels and time zone adjustments. Maybe once in a while in some sort of show-finals, but not on a long season basis.

About Torrey Hart

Torrey Hart

Torrey is from Oakland, CA, and majored in media studies and American studies at Claremont McKenna College, where she swam distance freestyle for the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps team. Outside of SwimSwam, she has bylines at Sports Illustrated, Yahoo Sports, SB Nation, and The Student Life newspaper.

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