PKL has brought in glam­our and vis­i­bil­ity to a sport that was very pop­u­lar in mid­dle In­dia.


Kabaddi is gain­ing trac­tion and mar­keters are tak­ing no­tice thanks to Pro Kabaddi League. It is truly a home­grown sport that needs back­ing and is not yet over­ex­posed to brands giv­ing mar­keters a chance to nur­ture mean­ing­ful as­so­ci­a­tions and grow with the plat­form.

We in­ter­viewed UT Ram­prasad, head - mar­ket­ing com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Tata Mo­tors to know his views on the grow­ing pop­u­lar­ity of Kabaddi. Edited Ex­cerpts:

In your view, is Kabaddi truly an In­dian sport?

Kabaddi has its ori­gins in In­dian myths – right from the days of Ab­hi­manyu and the Chakravyuh, con­cepts that we now know as Kabaddi. It is per­haps the most In­dian of sports.

What could be, in your opin­ion, the ways to keep this pop­u­lar­ity of Kabaddi grow­ing?

PKL has been a great step – it has brought in glam­our and vis­i­bil­ity to a sport that was very pop­u­lar in mid­dle In­dia. As more view­ers come in, more money comes in – fol­lowed by more in­ter­ested play­ers, more in­fra­struc­ture, and en­dorse­ments. It is a sport that needs back­ing and sup­port­ers – we too have de­cided to step in be­cause with the sup­port we can pro­vide, this sport can reach its de­served heights.

Look­ing at the growth tra­jec­tory of PKL what gives it an edge and makes it a mar­keter’s favourite?

It is a fast-paced, ac­tion-packed game that is quickly gain­ing fans and fol­low­ers. The du­ra­tion is short suit­ing at­ten­tion span of to­day’s viewer. So, for a mar­keter, there is a rapidly grow­ing au­di­ence. More­over, un­like cricket, the sport still isn’t over­ex­posed – so, the mar­keter doesn’t have to fight with a horde of other brands just to get one tiny win­dow to the au­di­ence. As a sport, also, it has the go-get­ting, never-say­die ag­gres­sion which a lot of brands iden­tify with.

For a sports-lov­ing na­tion like ours, such prop­er­ties mean un­prece­dented brand vis­i­bil­ity and re­call. What other fac­tors do you think are at­tract­ing brands to­wards PKL?

Like I said, it is an ex­cit­ing team sport. More­over, the prop­er­ties – be it the stars or the teams – are still at­tract­ing trac­tion. They are not fully formed yet. That means brands have an op­por­tu­nity to get in at the ground floor level and nur­ture teams and prop­er­ties which can later be iden­ti­fied with them. There is an op­por­tu­nity here to build long-term as­so­ci­a­tions and grow with the plat­form. It also pro­vides deeper and more nat­u­ral roots into the heart­land of In­dia – some­thing few other sports and mar­ket­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties can match.

A league like PKL of­fers brands an op­por­tu­nity for some unique ac­ti­va­tions, how can brands take ad­van­tage of such op­por­tu­ni­ties by do­ing cus­tom­ized ac­ti­va­tions.

It de­pends to a large de­gree on what the brand aims to do – be­yond just us­ing it as a me­dia ve­hi­cle. PKL of­fers such tremen­dous op­por­tu­ni­ties to brands – the ques­tion is, what will you do with it? In our case, there was a won­der­ful con­nect be­cause we have a ve­hi­cle called Yodha. It was a nat­u­ral move for us to spon­sor UP Yod­dhas, be­cause both the UP Yod­dha play­ers as well as our ve­hi­cle stands for the ag­gres­sion and the spirit of the warrior. It is a heart­land game, rooted in our soil – and our prod­ucts sell to the masses. So, this plat­form of­fers us an un­prece­dented way to con­nect with the sons of the soil. Kabaddi is a warrior’s game – and our pick up con­sumers are all war­riors at heart. PKL is a per­fect way for us to bond with the war­riors of In­dian heart­land.

UT Ram­prasad Head - Mar­ket­ing Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Tata Mo­tors

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