Pro Kabaddi League, currently in its second edition, witnessed a stunning opening with a 45 per cent viewership increase as compared to the inaugural season. This unprecedented growth makes Pro Kabaddi the only domestic Indian sports league to witness a strong rise in viewership as compared to its inaugural season.
The historic opening game on July 18th between the Defending Champions Jaipur Pink Panthers and last year’s finalists U Mumba, rated 7.2 TVM (BARC panel CS 4+), which is 45% higher than the opening game of last season (TAM Panel CS4+). This surge in viewership is reflected through the opening week.
This exceptional start to the second season validates that viewers have moved beyond the initial curiosity of season 1 to a deeper level of affinity and engagement with this aspirational Indian sport. The appeal of Pro Kabaddi has cut across demographics with the core, urban, youth audiences passionately following the game while women and children continued to contribute about 50% of viewership showing the universal appeal of the sport. The metro contribution was 64% to overall television viewership demonstrating that the urban, millennialist audiences have a strong affinity for the sport. The League scored big on the digital front too. hotstar, the online broadcaster of Pro Kabaddi, witnessed a massive interest from metros and the large cities. We have seen more than 15 times increase in online viewership already with 10.1 million viewers in the first week – vs last season where the entire tournament amassed 0.7 million viewers.
Uday Shankar, CEO, Star India said, “We are overwhelmed and delighted to see the Indian fan’s rediscovery and passionate following of the uber-cool, Indian sport of Kabaddi. Pro Kabaddi has grown from strength to strength and while season 1 was about re-discovering the game, season 2 has seen a deepening of engagement and appreciation for the sport and its heroes. We would like to thank our partners International Kabaddi Federation (IKF), Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), Mashal Sports and our sponsors for their tireless commitment towards realizing this great vision. ”
Pro Kabaddi has become one of the most talked-about events on social media. The opening day of the tournament saw #ProKabaddi trending across India, as fans from Jaipur and Mumbai resumed their rivalry in a replay of last year’s final. To date, the Pro Kabaddi Season 2 has seen over 230,000 conversations on social platforms driving 5 billion potential impressions. This is approximately 3 times greater than last year.
In its second season, Pro Kabaddi has created a pride of place for the National Anthem, with eminent personalities, iconic musicians and bands performing the anthem, capturing the essence of the entire country. In a befitting opening, the country’s biggest super star, Amitabh Bachchan sang the National Anthem on July 18, followed by Saurav Ganguly on the opening day in Kolkata.
Separately in recognition of the need to drive social transformation through sport Pro Kabaddi League committed to the “Swacch Bharat Abhiyan” initiative across 8 franchise markets to involve in-stadia audiences, clubs and players as well as viewers on TV to keep their surroundings clean.
Star has launched an unparalleled marketing blitz for the League with the #LePanga thematic campaign that reached its peak with Amitabh Bachchan’s energized rap rendition of the theme song. The campaign included star-studded tie ups with Salman Khan’s blockbuster release Bajrangi Bhaijaan and Ajay Devgn’s Drishyam. Pro Kabaddi made season 2 even more ‘stylish’ by signing youth icon and reigning star of Telugu cinema Allu Arjun as its league ambassador in the Telugu states.
Hotstar launched a series of unique content with shows like “Jabaddi” showing Bollywood veteran Jaaved Jaaferi narrating and reacting to the most entertaining moments of the game on a weekly basis and “Ultimate Panga” hosted by the youth icon and heartthrob Rannvijay Singha who puts Kabaddi's superheroes through a series of tasks to test their skill and strength.
Hotstar associated with VJ Jose to create 'Tickle Bomb' which are short and funny clips that builds the 'Kabaddi is fun’ quotient.
With a great start to the Season, sports fans and enthusiasts are in for a treat as India’s leading sports broadcaster is set to deliver a bigger and better Season 2 of Pro Kabaddi.