NEW DELHI: Broadcaster STAR India is now generating "a sizeable amount" of ad revenue from its Pro-Kabbadi League (PKL) and plans further opportunities with a Kabaddi World Cup towards the end of the year.

With Season 3 having recently finished, STAR Sports reported near full stadiums, growth in TV ratings and an increased number of brand associations.

Chief operating officer Sanjay Gupta wasn't giving away any specific financial details but told the Business Standard: "it would suffice to say that the ad revenue is now a sizeable amount".

The PKL reached 213m viewers in the first four weeks of Season 3, BARC data revealed, split roughly evenly between urban (103m) and rural (110m) audiences; urban viewership was up 1.8 times on Season 2.

Further, there was also a sharp rise in interest among young males as the number of 4-14 year olds watching jumped 30%.

A total of 64 brands associated with the league, including 29 for the first time. While happy to see more brands wanting to associate themselves with the sport, STAR indicated that it was looking to manage the numbers to ensure no dilution of the premium drawn by existing brand tie-ups.

A fourth season is due to start in June and STAR has also scheduled a World Cup tournament for the last quarter of the year, which will take in 12 of the 34 countries that play the game at an international level.

Gupta noted that the sport ticked several boxes for advertisers, as it reached both a young male audience and a significant rural audience. And local brands may regard their association with a sport that began in India as a good fit.

"With the world cup later this year, we believe that this interest will only increase since brands have a global aspiration as well," he added.

Season 2 of PKL in 2015 earned a reported Rs 55 crore in terms of ad/sponsorship revenues, and the expectation is that Season 3 will have seen a 15-20% increase on that figure.

Data sourced from Business Standard; additional content by Warc staff