3×3 Pro Basketball League owner eyes broadcast deal, Rs 100 cr rev in three years

MUMBAI: YKBK Enterprises, the owner of 3×3 Pro Basketball League, is in talks with Star India and Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI) for the sale of media rights of the tournament. The owners have also set an ambitious target of Rs 100 crore revenue in three years from the league.

Tapping the growing aspirations for basketball and sportainment among Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities, YKBK Enterprises has brought the 3×3BL Pro Basketball League to the Indian Subcontinent.

3×3BL Pro Basketball League is the shortest format of the game. It consists of 12 teams from various cities like Mumbai, Goa, Kochi, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata. The season 1 of the league kicked off last month and runs till 26 August.

YKBK Enterprise CEO Rohit Bakshi said that the broadcasters wanted to see how the first seasons fares before taking a decision. The season 1 is streaming on Facebook and YouTube. The aim is to have a TV deal from the second season. YKBK Enterprises has also partnered with Fiba to broadcast the event in 144 countries.

On the financial front, the organisers are looking at a turnover of Rs. 100 crore in three years. Apart from media rights sale, sponsorships will also be an important revenue stream. YKBK is looking at categories like travel sponsor, hotel sponsor, drink sponsor, venue sponsor.

Some deals have been done like the one with a mall which is a venue partner for Chennai, Bangalore and Mumbai. The organisers are also planning to get a digital partner like YouTube to enhance the profile of the sport.

The company had acquired the exclusive rights from the International Basketball Federation (Fiba). Officially introduced by Fiba in 2007, 3x3BL went on to test its format at global platforms at the Asian Indoor Games and Asian Youth Games, leading its way to the 2010 Summer Youth Olympics.

The format will debut at the Olympic Games in Tokyo in 2020.

Talking about the progress the league has so far made in the country YKBK Enterprise CEO Rohit Bakshi said that players were happy with the first phase. Despite the fact that the soccer World Cup was going on people came to watch the game. There was support given from a local TV channel and the aim of the league is to get more people interested in basketball.

He is excited about the potential that the league has in places like Kolkata where the league is being done in a high traffic mall. “Though Kolkata has a huge soccer World Cup following they also have a large number of people who follow basketball.”

His expectation is that people both fans and non-fans who casually walk through the mall will see that a league is happening and then they will stick around and watch it.

On the revenue model front sponsorships will be important both central and local. Endorsements for athletes will also be important. Another revenue source will be academies at the grassroots level. Every franchise owner has to start their own academy. The 3×3 Pro Basketball League format, he noted, is played by 144 countries like China, Japan, Korea, and Taiwan. Other countries like Dubai are investing in this format. The sport will be in the Commonwealth Games in 2022.

The aim of 3×3 Pro Basketball League is to make the sport as accessible, fan-friendly and popular as possible. It also hopes to get the best Indian players competing overseas against the best international players. The aim is to also get neglected talent to participate in the sport.

He further noted that the average attention span has reduced from 12 seconds to 8 seconds from 2000 to 2015. This is one of the major reasons for the launch and surge of major short format sports leagues. “Undisputedly cricket still captures the pulse of the market but ground up, there have been a huge amount of investment by the government and sporting companies in alternate sports and rise in viewership of sports other than cricket is a testimony to it.

“With growing demand, a trend is seen of mushrooming basketball coaching centres and affiliation with schools to develop talent at the base level. The viewership for basketball as a game has jumped from almost nothing to 50 Million, in the last 2-3 years and is attracting special viewership (NBA saw about 35% female viewership in India).”

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