Undoubtedly, cricket is the most loved sport in India and every win, controversy or loss in the sport make for national headlines.
By Reya Mehrotra
The sports league format was introduced in India in 2005 with the Premier Hockey League, which wrapped up by 2008 and paved the way for IPL in the same year. Undoubtedly, cricket is the most loved sport in India and every win, controversy or loss in the sport make for national headlines. With the ongoing IPL, the excitement levels of cricket fans are at a peak. We bring you more short form sports leagues in India to watch out for.
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Pro Kabaddi League
The professional-level Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) was launched in 2014. Its format, again, is inspired by IPL and uses the franchise model. Its teams include Jaipur Pink Panthers, Bengal Warriors, U Mumba, UP Yoddha, Gujarat Giants, Tamil Thalaivas, Puneri Paltan, Telugu Titans, Patna Pirates, and so on. Like IPL and ISL, PKL teams too have celebrities and influential businesspersons as owners like Abhishek Bachchan and Gautam Adani.
Indian Super League
In the Indian football system, ISL is one of the two highest level leagues, the second being I-League. It is organised by All India Football Federation and sponsored by Hero Motocorp. India’s first national football league begun in 1996 with the National Football League. The Indian Super League was officially launched in 2013 by Reliance, Star Sports and All India Football Federation. ISL has an ownership model similar to the IPL. Its teams have owners like Ranbir Kapoor, Abhishek Bachchan, MS Dhoni, Rakesh Jhunjhujwala, Tata Group and Allu Aravind, among others.
Pro Volleyball League
The PVL is an initiative of Baseline Ventures India and Volleyball Federation of India. It is a men’s professional indoor volleyball league The teams include U Mumba Volley, Chennai Spartans, Ahmedabad Defenders, Black Hawks Hyderabad, Calicut Heroes and Kochi Blue Spikers. International players like Rudy Verhoeff, Ruslans Sorokins, David Lee, Andrej Patuc, Carson Clark and Alexander Bader are a part. Each team has 12 players and a reserve of two players.
Pro Wrestling League
PWL was established in 2015 by the Wrestling Federation of India and ProSportify. It has six franchises representing Indian cities and formed via auctions. Teams include Delhi Sultans, MP Yodha, Haryana Hammers, Mumbai Maharathi, NCR Punjab Royals and UP Dangal. In 2019, Haryana Hammers beat Punjab Royals and won the title. The team included players like Anastasia Nichita from Moldova, Tayana Omelchenko from Azerbaijan and India’s Seema, Parveen Rana, Ravi Kumar and Rajneesh. Each team consists of nine players. The mascot of the league is Faulad Singh, who encourages the participants to compete with honesty and integrity. In its three editions, 51 Olympians have participated.
Indian Premier League
The Twenty20 cricket league is played by eight teams from eight different Indian cities. It was founded by the Board of Control for Cricket in India in 2007 and the first edition of IPL was held in 2008. According to the BCCI, IPL contributed $160 million to the GDP of India and it is also the most attended cricket league in the world. By 2022, IPL is expected to have 10 teams. Currently, the 14th edition of the IPL is being held in the UAE. In the history of IPL matches, Mumbai Indians team owned by Reliance Industries is the most successful team with five wins.
Pro Badminton League
PBL started in India in 2016 and is one of the top badminton leagues in the world. Both Indian and international badminton players including Olympic medal winners participate in the league. The league has helped popularise the sport even further with a wide reach to the audience through several platforms. PV Sindhu, Saina Nehwal, Lee Chong Wei, Carolina Marin, Victor Axelsen, Tai Tzu Ying and Lee Yong Dae have participated in the league. Franchises from Mumbai, Lucknow, Bengaluru, Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Guwahati are a part of the league. The PBL has had five successful seasons so far. The names of teams are Awadhe Warriors, Bengaluru Raptors, Chennai Team, Pune 7 Aces, Mumbai Rockets. Last year, Bengaluru Raptors won the league title defeating North Eastern Warriors.
Ultimate Table Tennis
India’s top League for table tennis, UTT began in 2017 with six franchises in which 36 players played over 18 days. Top athletes and coaches from India and abroad including Olympic, Asian Games and Commonwealth Games medalists form the crux of the league. The Table Tennis Federation of India is the stakeholder in UTT. The teams include Chennai Lions, Puneri Paltan, Goa Challengers, U Mumba, Dabang Delhi and Mavericks Kolkata. In 2019, Chennai Lions emerged winners, defeating Dabang Delhi.