It is an exciting period for Indian sports, when in a country obsessed with cricket, other sports as raw, homegrown and unfancied as Kabaddi is capturing the attention of the masses especially since the advent of Pro Kabaddi league.
Kabaddi has undergone a magnificent makeover and the marketing department of Pro Kabaddi League managed to crack a very tricky challenge. They got everything right, from product to place, from price to promotion.
Kabaddi was perceived as a sport for the rural masses played by pehelwans in dut bowls. The League launched Kabaddi in a brand new avatar. Instead of mud, it had a synthetic floor.
Hitesh Gossain, CEO of Onspon.com, a sponsorship company, elucidates,”The rules of the game were modified to improve the viewer experience. The characteristics which made PKL a great product was the way it was telecasted. Multiple cameras, slow motion replays, commentary – both in Hindi and English.”
The League in order to introduce people to the new form of kabaddi stated broadcast across multiple entertainment channels of STAR India. It was able to target the consumers who do not consume sports as entertainment in their day to day lives.
Kabaddi has a big advantage over cricket here since matches are of much shorter duration. This reduces the amount of time that a viewer needs to spend on a single match which in turn reduces the cost associated (in terms of time).
Hitesh also highlights the bandwagon effect that accompanies events like the PKL, “Consumption of sports as entertainment has a bandwagon effect associated with it. The more the number of people viewing a sport, the higher is the likelihood of discussions. This enhances the experience of a consumer even further. With the involvement of celebrities and the capturing of prime airtime on multiple Star Channels, Pro Kabaddi League was able to capture attention.”
The league made some slick moves with regard to time. They launched the league during an away series of Indian cricket team. This ensured that they were not competing with cricket for eyeballs. Just like IPL, PKL also got over in a short span on time. PKL took place over 37 days which ensured that the excitement around the league remained high throughout the duration of the event and the viewers didn’t feel fatigued as is often the case with traditional sporting leagues in India.
Kabaddi stands at the cusp of a immense opportunities and it would be a criminal waste if the current democratic appeal of the sport isn’t grabbed upon to drive in more participation.