At Star, we are on a mission to make India a multi-sports nation by introducing the nation to sports other than cricket, such as football, badminton and table tennis, along with regional sports.
In 2014, we took the decisive step to resurrect and repackage India’s village game, kabaddi with Pro Kabaddi League, encouraged the game of football with a local league, Indian Super League in 2015. This year, we broadcasted the inaugural edition of a table tennis league (Ultimate Table Tennis) in India on Star Sports Select. The league saw a mix of Indian and international table tennis players, and fans saw the Olympic sport’s fast-paced action and skill in a new light.
“If you were at the Kochi stadium last year for the ISL final, you could experience this new excitement first hand. The 60,000 strong stadium was packed. And at one point in the match, when a local boy scored a goal, there was so much excitement that the entire stadium started shaking! I faced such a surreal experience myself during the first season of the Hockey India league. I was at Ranchi for the final, and imagine my surprise when I found that a stadium capacity of 7,000 wasn’t enough for the crowd that had gathered to watch the match. They had to actually hire a 15,000 strong football stadium next door at the last minute and put up screens there to accommodate everyone,” says Sanjay Gupta, Country Manager, Star & Disney India.