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India sports leagues claim success

News, 02 February 2016

MUMBAI: As the Pro Kabbadi League (PKL) prepares to start its third season, and to rake in as much as Rs 50 crore in advertising revenues, the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) has claimed its inaugural season was the second most-watched non-cricket tournament in India.

The two-week long PWL took place in December and got a viewership rating of 0.85 in the six major metros, just behind the 0.90 registered by the second season of the PKL, and well ahead of other sports leagues such as the ISL – football's India Super League – which recorded 0.32 according to figures from BARC India.

Across the country as a whole, the average PWL viewership rating was 0.64, although comparable figures for other sports are not available as it is only recently that BARC has expanded its measurement into rural India

"The tournament got a very positive response from the Punjab, Haryana, Chandigarh and Himachal Pradesh region," according to Vishal Gurnani, director of ProSportify which promotes the league.

"The sport has a massive appeal there and has significant on-ground presence," he told the Business Standard. "While these states contributed to almost 90% ratings on Sony Max, the on-ground response was also very encouraging with most of the matches held up north getting above 90% occupancy."

Prosportify expects to add more teams and sponsors for this year's tournament.

The PKL, meanwhile, has proved such a success that the organisers have made it a twice-a year event, with major brands such as Bajaj, Flipkart and State Bank of India already on board as associate sponsors.

The move has been welcomed by team franchises. "It gives an added advantage of building the connect, both with brands and the audience," said Supratik Sen, CEO of U Mumba, the current champions.

"This year we are eyeing a 140% growth in our sponsorship revenues" he told IndianTelevision.com.

"Global player Adidas has associated with us as apparel partner," he added. "This only goes to show that the tournament is garnering global attention."

A senior executive at broadcaster Star India also revealed that more brands would be soon be named as tournament sponsors. "The brand interaction this year has been very good and we are expecting good numbers," he said.

Data sourced from Business Standard, IndianTelevision.com; additional content by Warc staff