Press Release

Buzz Never-Seen-Before in Indian Sports Marks Curtain Raiser for Star's Pro Kabaddi

1 August 2014

Never before has any new league managed to create a buzz as huge as that created by the Star Sports Pro Kabaddi League. The buzz and impact of Kabaddi league's opening night showcases the bond the sport shares with the people of the land where it has its roots.

The STAR Sports Pro Kabaddi League – an eight city franchise based league that portrays action packed ‘Live’ Kabaddi content in an uber-cool format receives an incredible start with over 22 million television viewers tuned in on the opening night.  This data, when extrapolated to All India Universe, as per standard industry conversions, indicate that over 66 million Indians have watched the opening night games. This is 10 times higher than that witnessed in India during the opening match between Brazil and Croatia of the recently concluded FIFA World Cup which reached 2.1mn viewers (extrapolated 6.6 million viewers). (Source TAM CS4+ data).

This first-of-its-kind Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi league, since inaugural, has become one of the most talked-about events on social media. Pro-Kabaddi generated tremendous on-line conversations and was trending through the event and into the next day as well. In fact within 12 hours into the league, Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi and related conversations had received approximately 140 million impressions on Twitter and equally significant numbers in the form of Facebook activity. 

The conversation was sparked off by the influencers and celebrities present in-stadia – with the likes of Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Aamir Khan, Sachin and others tweeting their experiences and the activation of the Twitter mirror “signature selfies” at the game. The excitement and online conversation soon spread to excited fans across the country reveling in the revival of the classic sport. The sentiment was overwhelmingly positive with over 90% highly positive comments and reactions. Even the Amul girl could not resist the charms of Kabaddi with the iconic, mirror of our times campaign headline “Kha-buddy…”.

Mr. Uday Shankar, CEO, STAR India mentions, “We are very excited about Kabaddi but these are early days. At Star we believe in building content on a long term basis and our positions and moods don't swing based on day one ratings! We strongly believe in the potential of Kabaddi and that is the reason we are working so hard to build it.”

“To Charu and me, the popularity of Kabaddi was never in question. However we have been genuinely overwhelmed by the support the game has received from all quarters, be it the media, film fraternity, sportspersons or the government. The viewership data further reinforces that Pro Kabaddi could be India's sports revolution in the making” said, Mr. Anand Mahindra, Co-promoter, Mashal Sports

Mr. Janardan Singh Gehlot, President, International Kabaddi Federation and Asian Kabaddi Federation affirms, “We have worked for all our lives to promote Kabaddi and it is heartening to see Kabaddi receive overwhelming support from the masses in the ongoing Pro Kabaddi League. The way the league has been organized by Mashal and the absolutely brilliant coverage provided by Star Sports in the first season of the league is bound to completely revolutionalise public perception around this game. It will create heightened awareness about the truly Indian character of the game, as well as its potential as a world-class sport. It will strengthen our ongoing drive to make Kabaddi an Olympics sport. Sponsors and brands will ride on the back of this fantastic make-over of Kabaddi and this will make Kabaddi a lucrative career option for young sportspersons.”

The broadcast of STAR Sports Pro Kabaddi was on STAR Sports channels, STAR Gold and starsports.com

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