Kabaddi, a traditional Indian sport that had almost disappeared from Indian cities, is back — not just in metros and on television, but in the cyberspace as well.
As soon as Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), the first initiative to commercialise kabaddi in Indian Premier League style, kicked off in Mumbai on Saturday, it became one of the most talked-about events on social network sites such as Twitter and Facebook.
Twitter saw more than 6.05 million tweets sent about the game on different hashtags in just 12 hours of the broadcast of the event. Similarly, on Facebook, in just 12 hours of the broadcast of the event, 3500 new fans were added, and over 30,000 people posted about the event.
"The most important thing was none of this was paid or promoted, everything was organic and earned. This is the best kind of traction a brand can get online," said Advith Dhuddu, founder and CEO of social media agency Alive Now. PKL, launched by Mahindra Group chairman Anand Mahindra with sports commentator Charu Sharma, has got good response from corporate honchos and celebrities.
The list of team owners includes Kishore Biyani, Uday Kotak, Ronnie Screwvala and Abhishek Bachchan, while celebrities who attended the opening match between U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers included Aamir Khan, Shahrukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar and the Bachchans. The event is being broadcast on Star Sports. "Charu & I are very satisfied with Day 1," Mahindra said in one of his several tweets about Pro Kabaddi League.
So kabaddi, one of the oldest traditional sports in India, turning into a commercially successful sport probably depends on how long young netizens go "kabaddi, kabaddi, kabaddi...