Not very long ago, kabaddi was an obscure sport for much of the world. That is not the case anymore, as the proper marketing of the sport has propelled kabaddi to new heights. Players are now well known and becoming household names.
The Pro Kabaddi League has played a big role in popularising India’s oldest sport. Naturally, with more fame comes more money.
In the player auction for season 1, eight franchises went about the task of forming their best squads from a pool of 96 players for the first ever season of Pro Kabaddi League. Double World Cup winner Rakesh Kumar was the most expensive player having been bought by the Patna Pirates franchise for INR 12.80 lakhs, more than thrice his base price of INR 4 lakhs.
Other top draws among the marquee players were Ajay Thakur and Surjeet Narwal, both fetching INR 12.20 lakhs for Bengaluru Bulls and Dabang Delhi respectively. Deepak Niwas was the pick of the draw from category B players, with the Telugu Titans picking up the youngster for a winning bid of INR 12.60 lakhs.
Season 2 of the PKL saw an international draft of 27 players from 13 countries. 14 international players were signed up and Hadi Oshtorak of Iran was the pick of the lot, bought by Telugu Titans for INR 21.10 lakhs, 14 times the base price of INR 1.50 lakhs.
Season 3 saw the inclusion of Services players for the first time. six teams pitched in for 12 players through an open draw process as the likes of Surjeet Singh and Nitin Tomar entered the fray.
Season 4 auction was a big one in terms of popularity as it attracted a large pool of 198 players and netted a total of INR 12.82 crores for 96 players sold. The highest bid was Mohit Chhillar who was bought by Bengaluru Bulls for INR 53 lakhs. Fazel Atrachali was the most expensive overseas player for INR 38 lakhs to Patna Pirates.
The recently held player auction for Season 5 shattered all previous records as a total of INR 46.99 crores was spent on 227 players selected. Nitin Tomar became the most expensive signing in the history of PKL when he was bought by Team Uttar Pradesh for a whopping amount of INR 93 lakhs.
Iranian Abozar Mohajer Mighani became the most expensive overseas player, bought by Team Gujarat for INR 50 lakhs. Suraj Desai became the most expensive category B player for INR 52.50 lakhs that was paid for him by Dabang Delhi.
From an auction cap of INR 60 lakhs per team to spending 93 lakhs on a player, PKL has come a long way financially. Here we look at the highest earning kabaddi players in the world based on their tournament earnings and salaries.
|Approx earnings (in lakhs)
|Jang Kun Lee