Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Rise Of Kabaddi : The Pro-Kabaddi League !

By: Team PenTastic
[ Written by Nimisha Acharya ]

Hey people..from this week onwards, 'Cet Rising' is going to have a fortnightly column on….Yes! you guessed it right..sports!!! this column will be your one stop destination for all sporting events of international and national importance,and even the events at cet would be covered!!

We are kick-starting this latest column by taking an offbeat path. Rather than discussing popular sports like cricket, football and tennis, we are going to talk about the indigenous but oft neglected sport, Kabaddi. It took the recent success of the pro-kabaddi league to focus our attention on this entertaining and engaging game.From relative obscurity,the sport of kabaddi had captured the public and the entire tv audience.

Kabaddi is a true blue Indian sport having all the ingredients like speed, skill and strategy to make it a favourite of the public. The pro kabaddi league had all this and much more, with the perfect blend of sports and entertainment wooing the people. The brain behind the league is the famous sports commentator and compere Charu Sharma, who wanted to make kabaddi a visual spectacle to appeal to the urban audience and pertain to the spirit of the game to retain the rural fans.

The "Pro Kabaddi league" was organized in association with International Kabaddi Federation, Asian Kabaddi Federation and Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India.Broadly based on the formula of the indian premier league,the highly successfull T20 cricket tournament,the PKL has 8 teams:

             Bengal warriors
             Bengaluru bulls
             Dabang delhi
             Jaipur pink panthers
             Patna pirates
             Puneri paltan
             Telugu titans
             U mumba.

The franchises are owned by luminaries such as media and movie entrepreneur Ronnie Screwvala,Rajesh Shah(Mukund Group),financer Uday Kotak,retail entrepreneur Kishore Biyani,Bollywood actor Abhishek Bachchan, and companies such as the GMR Group and Murugappa Group. The grand finale was held between the 2 winners of the semis. The final match was played between Jaipur Pink Panthers and U Mumba, with the Jaipur team(owned by Abhishek Bachchan) winning the inaugural edition of the league.

The flash bulbs, numerous cameras and packed audience for kabaddi matches was unthinkable even weeks ago. This turnaround can be attributed to a lot of factors, mainly the state-of-the-art technical equipment that included 14 cameras - including ultra-slow motion cameras that magnified the smallest details on the field, crane cameras for overhead shots, all delivered by a world class team, and played a major part as it made for great prime time viewing.

With its razzmatazz and Bollywood backing, Pro Kabaddi has clearly taken inspiration from cricket's Indian Premier League (IPL) - the short format of the game so widely followed across the country and the globe. At the moment the numbers are not huge. Franchisees paid up to $250,000 for the rights to run teams.Running costs, including salaries and travel, are estimated at $800,000 per club. By comparison, in the 2014 Indian Premier League, Delhi Daredevils paid some $1.4m just for the services of Kevin Pietersen - while an IPL franchise costs about $10m.

The Indian Premier League may have created the blueprint for sports leagues in India by marrying cricket and Bollywood, but Bollywood may have found its sporting soul mate in kabaddi. According to Uday Shankar, the CEO of Star India, the PKL has “has set a new benchmark in terms of viewership for any non-cricketing sport, evident from the fact in the first 15 days, the league received a cumulative viewership of 288 million. Based on these viewership numbers, Pro Kabaddi has attracted more eyeballs than any other sport in the country apart from Cricket, making Kabaddi the number 2 sport in India.” While IPL comparisons are inevitable, he says it is an unfair one given how long cricket has grown professionally.

The pro kabaddi league was the first attempt to popularize kabaddi on a massive scale, and it worked wonders. It left the audience captivated and wanting for more. For once, our facebook timelines had something different in store for us. Twelve hours into the league, PKL and related issues received about 140 million impressions on Twitter and saw substantial Facebook activity, too. While various celebrities tweeted their in-stadia experiences, some posted 'signature selfies' at the venue. Having a total viewership of more than 500 million, we can safely say that the pro kabaddi league is the newest sports revolution in India.


  1. A really refreshing article ........Good work!!!

  2. The very first sports article! good job..keep it up! :)

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