NEW DELHI: Patanjali, recently named as India's most disruptive FMCG brand, is setting its sights on wrestling fans as it becomes the title sponsor for the next two seasons of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL).

The ayurvedic brand has been expanding rapidly and branching out from its core categories of food and personal care into clothing and footwear. Three months ago it announced it would be launching "swadeshi" jeans, Indianised in style, design and fabric, as well as saris, kurtas, shirts and coats.

The decision to sponsor the PWL is another unexpected move of the sort which led a study published this week by trade body ASSOCHAM and TechSci Research to describe the company as the most disruptive force in India's FMCG market.

It has launched a raft of new products in the past year, many in the FMCG sector and many of which have gained share from existing brands.

D.S. Rawat, ASSOCHAM Secretary General, noted that "unconventional ownership" was a factor and, more generally, that "the focus has shifted away from foreign direct investment in multi-brand retail to home-grown Ayurveda".

In that context, aligning itself with wrestling, which an associate sponsor of the PWL described as "an integral part of Indian culture", makes sense.

The presence of Olympic bronze medallist Sakshi Malik and Commonwealth Games gold medallists Geeta and Babita Phogat in PWL2 – the latter two are also the subject of a Bollywood film, Dangal – is expected to attract large TV audiences.

PWL2 began this week after being postponed from December because of issues around demonetisation. But promoter ProSportify has said that ad rates are 28% up on last year and that revenues have more than doubled, the Economic Times reported.

Data sourced from Economic Times, ASSOCHAM; additional content by Warc staff