DSport to launch local sports entertainment property ‘Dangal Ke Soorma’ on 24 August
MUMBAI: With 1.7 million impressions per week, Indian Pro-wrestling is the second most viewed sport of the country. According to a report published by FICCI, In 2018, Wrestling became the most viewed sport with 20% sports viewership surpassing cricket which held 19% of the total sports viewership. Despite that fact, the sports entertainment industry has never been promoted in the country and has always been dominated by International Pro-Wrestlers courtesy of companies like WWE and TNA.
While a few Indian wrestlers like Khali, Jinder Mahal, and Kavita Devi, have been featured on international platforms they are few and far between. DSport sees the whitespace being a platform where Indian wrestlers can showcase their skill.
Realising the untapped potential of the Indian Pro-Wrestling market, DSport is coming up with India’s first-ever indigenously created wrestling entertainment show titled, ‘Dangal Ke Soorma’. The show kicks off on 24th August at 9 pm and will be a weekly 12 episode series. 21 elite Indian wrestlers will take on various international wrestling stars.
The plan is to scale up the event next year to 24 episodes. DSport airs a lot of wrestling and combat sports properties in India, and has broadcast many International Combat & Sports entertainment shows like New Japan Pro Wrestling (World’s second-largest Pro-Wrestling), Ring of Honor (third largest wrestling promotion in the US), Lucha Underground Season 2 and World of Sport Wrestling from the UK. Now the aim is to take things to the next level through ‘Dangal Ke Soorma’.
Lex Sportel MD and CEO RC Venkateish said that the idea for the local show came about a couple of years back. The show, he explained, is being pitched as being about Indian talent taking on what the rest of the world has to offer.
“Pro wrestling is the second most popular sport in India after cricket. So far all the IPs have basically been foreign IPs whether it is WWE or TNA or Ring of Honor. There is a good following for this particular genre. We thought of exploring the possibility of developing our own indigenous property which will obviously have a very good connect with the masses. Almost two years back we were scouting around for a good partner for this endeavour.”
He noted that the Indian wrestlers have performed abroad in the Pro wrestling circuit in Southeast Asia, Russia, Japan. “So far there has been the odd Indian talent in WWE but they have been few and far between. It is not a homegrown thing. It is transplantation of one or two selected Indians into the show. The episodes have come quite well. We did studios shoots in Noida at Eagle Studios.”
The challenge of doing the show he explains was to get fighters that are of the standard as what is seen in other wrestling properties. The product needed to be of the same caliber. The Indian wrestlers he noted spent six months training to be ready for the show. The second challenge was to get an interesting storyline and so the company had to go through a lot of iterations. The concept had to be carried from season to season and be like soap, a never-ending story. Scriptwriters who have worked on pro wrestling were roped in. Then the execution in terms of shooting the show, and the production quality was the third challenge.
The key markets for him include the South which has extra audiences for it and the TG is 15-30. “We have a great cachet of fight sports and we have the best portfolio in the market if you look outside WWE.”
He added that the second season will start taping shortly and the plan is to have a longer season for next year consisting of 24 episodes. “The first season is a short season of 12 episodes and next season we would look to at least double the episodes. It will be a weekly format. Next season the aim is to have the episode frequency increase. The show will be in English and Hindi. We are on the verge of tying up the title sponsor. Advertisers like the concept and execution.”
On the marketing front, the company has a heavy digital presence as pro wrestling fans heavily follow fighters online. So online advertising is important. Social media channels are also being used. TV advertising is also important.