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Pro Kabaddi League, Vivo ink Rs 300-cr title sponsorship deal for 5 years

MUMBAI: Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) broadcaster and format rights owner Star India has signed a five-year sponsorship deal with Chinese handset maker Vivo.

The deal is valued at Rs 300 crore and is the first time PKL will have a title sponsor. Star had not sold the title sponsorship rights as it wanted the PKL to grow its viewership so that it would get the right value for the property.

With PKL, Vivo gets to associate with the second-most popular local sporting league in the country after the IPL.

Says Star India managing director Sanjay Gupta, “Vivo shares a common vision with Star Sports to make Pro Kabaddi one of the finest leagues in the world. With Vivo coming on board as the title sponsor, it is a significant milestone in the growth story of the league. Star Sports will continue its efforts to elevate the stature of the sport further.”

The fifth season of PKL, which kicks off in July, will have 12 teams, up from the current eight. It will have more than 130 matches spread across 13 weeks. Last month, a tender was floated to add four teams selected from Tamil Nadu, Haryana, Gujarat and Uttar Pradesh.

PKL has seen a phenomenal growth over the last four seasons with packed stadia and record viewership numbers, emerging as a benchmark for sports leagues in India. Significantly, the high popularity of PKL has evoked continually surging sponsor interest. This fast-growing interest from across the ecosystem reflects the national appeal of the sport.

Vivo India CEO Kent Cheng said, “Earlier seasons have shown that Kabaddi is a sport whose popularity cuts across all audiences. With this association, Vivo aims to target the right audience and capture the hearts of Indians.”

Vivo has been using sports to popularise its brand in India. Incidentally, Vivo is the title sponsor of the Indian Premier League (IPL). Replacing PepsiCo, Vivo had paid Rs 200 crore to be the title sponsor of the IPL for two years. The term ends with the 10th edition of the IPL this year.

PKL was founded in 2014 and the first tournament was played between eight franchises representing eight cities in India. The organising company Mashal Sports was co-founded by Charu Sharma, director of Mashal Sports, and Anand Mahindra, chairman of Mahindra Group. Star India acquired a 74% stake in Mashal Sports and is also the official broadcaster of the league.