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Mumbai: The third edition of the Indian Super League (ISL) football tournament garnered a total viewership of 216 million as compared to around 207 million in 2015, according to an ISL release.

The rural India viewership registered a cumulative figure of 101 million. Metro cities Mumbai and Chennai emerged as one of the top performers this season recording a surge of more than 50 percent over last year along with a cumulative 20 percent increase spike in viewership in Tamil Nadu.

The final match between Atletico de Kolkata and Kerala Blasters FC on December 18 was viewed by 41 million fans on television, the release cited BARC CS4+, U+R viewership final ratings.

This season recorded a surge of over 25 percent in overall viewer engagement compared to ISL 2015, the release said.

The promoters of ISL, Football Sports Development Limited Founder and Chairperson Nita Ambani, remained optimistic on the increasing popularity of Indian football attributing the surge in fans following and team affinity and to "ISL vision".

Ambani said, "The overwhelming response from fans is testament to the vision we have for the league, and it reaffirms our faith that 'Indian football is moving in right direction".

"The response from newer markets like Tamil Nadu and Mumbai, and further growth in established markets like West Bengal, Kerala etc shows the appetite for the sport. Stadium attendance, viewership numbers and growth on digital platform this season further encourages us to reset our benchmark for the season ahead," added Ambani.