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Pro Kabaddi League clocks 72.5 mn viewers in debut week
MUMBAI: After a stupendous opening, the first eight days of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) have attracted 72.5 million viewers, as per TAM data for Week 31.
Extrapolated to the All India Universe, as per standard industry conversions, this means that over 218 million Indians have watched the tournament, claims official broadcaster Star Sports.
The strategy of sampling through Star Gold has paid off with a 37 per cent growth in Star Gold’s prime-time slot. Since the inaugural, this first-of-its-kind kabaddi league has become one of the most talked-about events on social media.
Online buzz and conversations continue to build with 910 million impressions online, in the first eight days of the tournament, in itself a record for a comeback sport.
In its glory days, the sport enjoyed a rich heritage where it was practised during festivals and after harvest as a matter of celebration. To keep pace with the changing times, Star Sports has added more fizz to the sport with world-class production, modern indoor stadiums, mat surface courts, jazzy music and light, and celebrity engagement to make it more appealing to the youth.
“Kabaddi has every ingredient, including skill, strategy and speed, to emerge as a serious sport and win a fan following. The opening week response is especially encouraging given that it is a true-blue Indian sport,” Star India CEO Uday Shankar said.
“To Charu and me, the popularity of kabaddi was never in question. However, we have been genuinely overwhelmed by the support the game has received from all quarters, be it the media, film fraternity, sportspersons or the government. The viewership data further reinforces that the Pro Kabaddi League could be India’s sports revolution in the making,” said Mashal Sports co-founder Anand Mahindra.
The games continue to witness high celebrity turnout—attracting icons from film, television and the political world to watch the revamp of this ancient sport. The broadcast of PKL is on Star Sports channels, Star Gold and Starsports.com.
The PKL is an eight-city league with games to be played on a caravan format with each team playing each other twice. This unique effort has the formal backing of the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), the Asian Kabaddi Federation (AKF) and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), who will be closely associated with the organisation and delivery of this event.