Kabaddi has always been a popular sport in the country. It has now taken the national stage with the first season of the Pro Kabaddi League. The PKL has gained popularity quickly in locals who are fond of the game. But it has failed to capture the heights of leagues in other sports in the country.
However, Star India has retained the title sponsorship for the league in a try to increase the popularity, viewership and advertising profile in the second season of the league. They have now picked up 74% of the stake in the brand Mashal Sports in April and is looking to provide upto Rs.70 crore to improve its brand image.
Sanjay Gupta ,the co-owner of the Star Ltd, said that there was a lot of demand for the sponsorship of the league in various sectors and that Star India has decided to invest significantly in the League to improve its viewership. He added that he hopes that these investments will help the game grow in scare and for its further growth in the future.
Sources have placed the sponsor value at around 20 crore which was less than what Star expected. The value led to a bids form a handset manufacturer and a late bid from a foreign auto major but with very less inventory to sell, Star has retained the sponsorship.
Shashi Sinha, the CEO of IPG Media Brand India said that the league is still growing as a brand, but, the sport has shown in the first season that it can attract viewers from all sections of the crowd.
Coca Cola and Thums UP have bagged the associate sponsorship title. Sinha said that they were given an associate title because Star expects the value of the brand to increase in the third season. He also said that, with the sport having very less break times, there was very little space to sell to the associates.
With plans by the Star Ltd to bring in national players from different nations, it will not be long before the PKL will reach great heights. Gupta from the Star Ltd said that he expects Rs 45-50 crore from associate sponsorships across 6-7 brands, of which Star India has tied up with five namely Bajaj Electricals, TVS Motors Co, Thums Up, VIP and Flipkart.
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