MUMBAI: Introducing India and the world to an ancient Indian game of Kabaddi is Star Sports with its Pro Kabaddi League (PKL). The eight city franchise based league that began on 26 July seems to have created quite a buzz around it.
According to latest TAM data provided by the channel, the opening night received 22 million TV viewers, on both Star Sports and Star Gold. This data, when extrapolated to All India Universe, according to standard industry conversions, show that over 66 million Indians have watched the game, claims the channel.
“This is 10 times higher than that witnessed in India during the opening match between Brazil and Croatia of the recently concluded FIFA World Cup which reached 2.1 million viewers (extrapolated 6.6 million viewers),” says the channel.
On Twitter, Star says that it had generated such an extensive conversation line that it was trending for nearly two days. Within 12 hours of the commencement of the League, PKL had received nearly 140 million impressions on Twitter and a significant number on Facebook activity. This was driven by celebrities/owners of teams including Aamir Khan, Amitabh Bachchan, Shahrukh Khan, Sachin Tendulkar etc.
The Kabaddi mania even spread to the Amul girl by her positive take on PKL. Over 90 per cent of the reactions regarding PKL were positive, says the broadcaster. Star India CEO Uday Shankar said, “We are very excited about Kabaddi but these are early days. At Star we believe in building content on a long term basis and our positions and moods don't swing based on day one ratings! We strongly believe in the potential of Kabaddi and that is the reason we are working so hard to build it.”