I think one of the key as­pects that work in favour of kabaddi is the unique ac­ti­va­tions.


Ag­gres­sive mar­ket­ing, im­prov­ing the qual­ity of con­tent, cor­po­rate and gov­ern­ment back­ing and a fran­chise model, have made Kabaddi a pop­u­lar sport for the con­sumers. And with the sec­ond high­est TVR and com­pre­hen­sive on-ground and on-air in­te­gra­tions, Pre­mier Kabaddi League (PKL) and, con­se­quently Kabaddi, has given mar­keters an al­ter­na­tive op­tion.

We in­ter­viewed Mr. Mel­roy D’Souza, Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer, Pro­fes­sional Man­age­ment Group (a sports mar­ket­ing com­pany which is part of the Madi­son World), for his views on the phe­nom­e­non that Kabaddi is turn­ing out to be. Edited Ex­cerpts:

The cul­ture of watch­ing and play­ing sports, be­sides cricket, has gained ground in In­dia. What fac­tors do you at­tribute this growth to?

The key fac­tors at­tribut­ing to this growth are:

Ag­gres­sive Me­dia Mar­ket­ing Mak­ing con­tent of in­ter­na­tional qual­ity as well as tele­vi­sion friendly Ed­u­cat­ing view­ers of the sport Good in­ter­na­tional per­for­mances by In­dian ath­letes in sports like Bad­minton and Foot­ball

In­crease in cor­po­rate and gov­ern­ment back­ing

Fran­chise model which helps grow the sport in dif­fer­ent re­gions

Kabaddi is now a pop­u­lar sport among kids and now that it is grow­ing in scale, it will still con­tinue to at­tract the tier 2 and tier 3 mar­kets? How does that work for you?

One of the key fo­cus ar­eas of Kabaddi are kids. This is be­cause Star Sports has iden­ti­fied that for the sport to grow fur­ther, ac­tive par­tic­i­pa­tion by kids is im­por­tant wherein they need to play the sport, watch or sup­port the sport be­ing played by their peers. Hence the Kabaddi Kids ini­tia­tive by Star Sports wherein they go out to more than 2,000 schools.

With the ad­di­tion of four new teams in sea­son 5, PKL be­came In­dia’s big­gest sport­ing league in terms of ge­o­graph­i­cal rep­re­sen­ta­tion with 12 fran­chises from 11 states on board. How would you pre­dict its growth tra­jec­tory?

Kabaddi has had a phe­nom­e­nal growth tra­jec­tory over the last four years. The league by it­self has now ma­tured with its struc­ture in re­la­tion to its for­mat and fran­chises. The last PKL saw an av­er­age BARC TVR of 1.5 for M15 AB U+R, CUM Reach. It reached out to over 313 mil­lion peo­ple. The sport will now look to con­sol­i­date its growth but will try and in­crease its reach in ur­ban mar­kets. This is key for ad­ver­tis­ers.

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

I think Cricket is still a mar­keters favourite. How­ever it has given ad­ver­tis­ers an al­ter­nate op­tion. The rea­son why the sport has an edge with mar­keters is as fol­lows:

Com­pre­hen­sive in­te­gra­tion - on ground and on air

Strong brand in­te­gra­tion on live TV Ac­ces­si­bil­ity to play­ers for cam­paign Cover the length and breadth with 12 teams

Sec­ond high­est TVR af­ter cricket

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

I think one of the key as­pects that works in favour of Kabaddi, is the unique type of ac­ti­va­tions. Be­sides Gil­lette, the Mu­tual Funds Sahi Hai in­te­gra­tion is an­other ini­tia­tive which strikes out. The us­age of the play­ers as com­mon peo­ple in­vest­ing in mu­tual funds and re­mov­ing the myths sur­round­ing it was a bril­liant cam­paign. The us­age of play­ers and their ac­tive in­te­gra­tion dur­ing the matches (TVC + Live In­te­gra­tion + Dig­i­tal) is an op­por­tu­nity for brands to re­lay the sto­ries and re­late to the masses.

Mel­roy D’Souza Chief Op­er­at­ing Of­fi­cer Pro­fes­sional Man­age­ment Group

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