Star has acquired a 74% stake in the Pro Kabaddi League; the value of the deal is not known yet. Star, the official broadcaster of the league, will now have control over the entire league as a majority owner of Mashal Sports.
This is the second time Star has become involved in the league directly. It had earlier formed a joint venture (JV) with IMG Reliance to start the Indian Super League (ISL), with 40% stake in franchise-based football league ISL.
Star India CEO Uday Shankar said, “The investment, completely in sync with Star’s aim to spawn a multi-sport culture in the country, will further help in nurturing India’s sporting talent. We are totally committed to abiding with the vision of Mashal management and all stakeholders of Pro Kabaddi, and will further develop the league in the upcoming second season.”
Apart from Anand Mahindra, sports commentator Charu Sharma and Lex & Legal Services’ Rajiv Luthra are the other shareholders in the company. Adman Piyush Pandey is an advisor for the sports management company. Mashal Sports has acquired the rights to organise the league for a period of 10 years from International Kabaddi Federation (IKF).
Singapore-based World Sport Group (WSG) is the official commercial and event partner for the Pro Kabaddi League. Ogilvy & Mather is the creative partner.
The second season of Pro Kabaddi League, which takes place in July, will see a multi-lingual multi-channel broadcast. The Pro Kabaddi League 2014 attracted 435 million viewers over the 37-day event. It was the second most viewed sporting event in the country after Indian Premier League (IPL), which attracted 552 million.
Star aired the first season of the Pro Kabaddi league on Star Sports 2 & 3 and Star Gold. Interestingly, Star’s flagship Hindi movie channel, Star Gold, had a 95% share of total Pro-Kabaddi league viewership though it was also aired on Star Sports 3 with Hindi commentary. The second season will also be aired on Star Gold.