Kho Kho is a very TV friendly sport: UKL CEO Tenzing Niyogi

MUMBAI: The organisers of Ultimate Kho-Kho League (UKL) feel that Kho Kho will appeal to the TV audience as it is a TV friendly sport.

UKL CEO Tenzing Niyogi said that the whole idea behind setting up a Kho Kho league is due to its TV friendly nature. He also said that the organisers are bringing new elements to the UKL to make it engaging.

“So, from a 19 member and at 12 team squad, the sort of action packed ability, the speed, the pace, the movements and more importantly I believe the skydives which is the tagging bit of faith is one of the best elements which can be added to a TV production value. The reason why Kabaddi is such a big hit is because of the man to man combat and the jumps in the air that excites all genre of sports consumers,” he said.

The UKL is negotiating a media rights deal with two leading sports broadcasters. Apart from locking in a broadcaster, the immediate task for the organisers is to is to establish the league by bringing in franchise owners. The Expression of Interest (EoI) will be floated soon.

“There are few Bollywood and sporting celebrities who have got in touch with us. There are multiple business conglomerates who are keen to get associated with Kho Kho for a while now,” Tenzing stated.

Niyogi said that there are 35 lakh Kho Kho players in India. The Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI) has initiated the process of shortlisting 200 players. .

The players will be selected based on their National Championship results, stroke statistics, and stroke data. All the 200 players will be graded into three categories A, B and C and will be equally drafted amongst the franchisee. The international player will also be graded.

Niyogi said, “We already have the data of all the international players in terms of runners and chasers, they are being graded as well as far as skill sets are concerned. And they’ll be graded along with the domestic men along with the under 21 youth.”

The organisers will look at roping in sponsors at a later stage once the franchisees and the broadcast partner are signed up. “I’m not gonna make it very complex in year one, it will it might or might not have presenting sponsor, but we will be looking at the second year very aggressively with the appropriate sponsors,” Niyogi added.

The UKL will have 60 matches including 56 plus four in the knockout stage. The UKL will be played in Mumbai and Bangalore in the first year since the weather is these cities more conducive than cities in other regions.

“Essentially, we’re looking at markets which are entrenched with Kho Kho players. So if we have to look into the penetration of sports in India, and looking at the National Championship results, which have been for the last two or three years, Maharashtra has been number one, by far. Now, while Mumbai, Delhi, Kolkata and Bangalore are massive markets, what we are looking to do in year one is we might look into a venue in West which is cooler, and we might look into the Bangalore as the second venue,” he pointed out.

The inclusion of Kho Kho in Asian Games will give it a big boost. “There is a potential tomorrow to get into the larger scheme of things and that isn’t the end objective. The objective is also that we host a world championship in seven to eight years,” opined Niyogi.

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