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Kabaddi, badminton gaining viewership in India, Cricket no longer the top sport

Cricket is no longer the only crowd puller of sports on Indian TV. PKL, ISL and PBL are here to stay.

News 22 Oct 2017, 13:17 IST

The IPL continues to be the major source of revenue
The IPL continues to be the major source of revenue

What's the story?

Cricket is no longer the major sport watched in India with leagues such as the Pro Kabaddi League, Indian Super League and Premier Badminton League gaining a lot of popularity in recent times leading to the increase in their viewership as well.

The leagues meant that sponsorships for the teams went up from Rs. 5,363 crore in 2015 to Rs. 6,400 crore in 2016, a whopping 19.4% rise including franchise and team sponsorships across all sports, as pointed out in a report titled ‘Sporting Nation in the Making’.

In case you didn't know

Sports like football, kabaddi and badminton are also gaining quickly on cricket, according to a report by brokerage firm ICICI Securities.

The Indian Premier League continues to be the biggest source of revenue and 2016 saw a 25% rise in sponsorships and viewing with a total revenue of 1,020 crore rupees (USD 150 million) when compared to 2015.

The Pro Kabaddi League hogged all the limelight in the previous year with the two seasons a year module proving to be a masterstroke as the on-ground sponsorship sky-rocketed to 154% when compared to the previous year that saw the league topple football as the second most followed sport in India.

The Indian Super League, Pro Kabaddi League and the Premier Badminton League have all proved to be major contributors to the generated revenue since the last couple of years.

Heart of the matter

The sport of Kabaddi gathered a huge revenue as the two seasons of the Pro Kabaddi League and the Kabaddi World Cup collectively generated 122 crore rupees (USD 17.94 million) when compared to the 48 crore rupees (USD 7 million) generated in 2015, a whopping 154% rise.

The Pro Kabaddi League was the major contributor to this figure, generating close to 100 crores with 15 investors settling on the deal but for the Indian Super League, it was not the rosiest of years with setbacks in viewership and funds.

While the average attendance for ISL matches in 2015 was close to 26,000 spectators, the figure fell to an average of 21,000 and a total of 1.28 million spectators who were in attendance for the 61 matches combined which meant it was a steep 25% fall in viewership.

On the business front, revenue dropped by 3.9%, from 114 crore rupees in 2015 to just 109 crore rupees in 2016.

The broadcaster for all these leagues has been Star India, a venture owned by 21st Century Fox and continues to generate a lot of revenue from the cash-rich leagues, mainly the IPL apart from holding the rights of matches conducted by the BCCI and ICC beating stiff competition from Sony.

Sportskeeda's take

With a lot of competitive leagues coming up in recent times, cricket continues to be the number one sport in India but is not the only sport that is viewed. Leagues such as the Pro Kabaddi League, ISL and PBL have attracted a lot of eyeballs and this can do only good for Indian sport.

This competition not only develops the sport, it lays out a platform for the prospective talents who are waiting on the sidelines to perform well in the domestic competition with an aspiration to don the Indian colours in the near future.

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