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In certain parts of core geography, Pro Kabaddi trumps IPL: Anupam Goswami

The countdown has started for Season 5 of Vivo Pro Kabaddi. Commencing on July 28, 2017 in Hyderabad, Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 5 will travel across 12 host cities, culminating in Chennai on October 28, 2017. The matches will be aired on the Star Sports network and Hotstar. 

Shedding more light on the tournament this year, Anupam Goswami, League Commissioner, Vivo Pro Kabaddi, said, “For Season 5, our goal was to create a high-impact tournament which evokes euphoric sentiment among fans for their favourite teams. Strong contenders will be seen clashing in the action-packed 3 months of the League. The longer duration of the League, in addition to 12 teams battling in 138 matches, will give fans an exciting season of Kabaddi to cheer for.” 

Deoraj Chaturvedi, CEO, International Kabaddi Federation, added here, “It is our foremost priority to tirelessly work towards nurturing and developing an evocative and engaging Kabaddi culture in India. The International Kabaddi Federation worked with Mashal Sports to create a dynamic schedule for Vivo Pro Kabaddi Season 5, which will thrill the audiences. We are proud to see that the League, which is uniquely driven by innovation, has grown into one of the biggest in Indian sports.” 

Speaking further on the viewership for Pro Kabaddi, Anupam Goswami exclaimed, “Television viewership from the very first season itself has been amazing, in fact, Season 2 was the most viewed League after the Indian Premier League (IPL). These numbers are really important for us, because television and media partnerships are at the heart of any modern sport. What we achieved was a clearly outstanding performance in Season 1 and we have kept on going. There have been instances where we compare very favourably with other sports. We brought the Kabaddi World Cup exclusively on Star Sports and yet we had a very strong television viewership, compared to other sports which were aired on other channels.” 

Goswami added that the viewership of non-India matches in the Kabaddi World Cup has rated higher than even the non-India cricket matches in the ICC T20 tournament. He claimed, “In certain parts of core geography, Pro Kabaddi rates are higher than IPL. When we did the Women’s Kabaddi Challenge in Season 4, the finals of the women’s Kabaddi League were higher than the finals of the ICC T20 Women’s World Cup. Pro Kabaddi has seen rising viewership graphs in each of its seasons. We are really strong performers in terms of television.” 

At the same time, Goswami said that there is nothing called a dedicated Kabaddi stadium as there are very few big stadiums in the country. Stadium capacity ranges from 2,500 to 12,000-14,000 in one or two stadiums. 

He added, “The smaller stadiums always happen to be packed. However, it also depends upon how the franchise has activated its local geography around their teams. Season 3 was conducted in Delhi at the Indira Gandhi Indoor stadium, which has a capacity of 12,000 and it was packed. Also, the ticket prices were increased, which is a sign of the League’s success.” 

While Goswami refrained from naming the sponsors who have come on board for Season 5 of Pro Kabaddi, he said that the League has received strong support from Bollywood stars like Salman Khan, Shah Rukh Khan and Aamir Khan. 

The first match of Season 5 will see Rahul Chaudhari-led Telugu Titans clash with Tamil Thalaivas, which boasts of marquee player, Ajay Thakur. 

The 12 teams have been divided into two zones of six teams each, where each of them will be playing 15 intra-zone and 7 inter-zone matches, prior to the play-offs. The play-offs stage will comprise 3 qualifiers and 2 eliminators, scheduled to take place in Mumbai and Chennai.

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