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Doordarshan in talks with US co as it plans varsity leagues via PPP

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MUMBAI: Doordarshan, inspired by the spectacular success of private broadcasters, is preparing to enter into the sports business with three different sports leagues in basketball, kabaddi and football. 

Sports sponsorship in India grew 19.33 per cent in 2016 to touch Rs 6,400 crore, according to a report titled Sporting Nation in the Making IV, jointly published by GroupM ESP, and SportzPower, a sports business news company.

The pubcaster is already in parleys with a US-based company, Doordarshan D-G Supriya Sahu said. The league, to be unveiled in couple of months, will be played amongst students from the university/college levels across the nation. Non-cricket leagues saw franchise revenue growing 4.97 per cent from Rs 201.2 crore in 2015 to Rs 211.2 crore in 2016.

The main idea is to bolster a public-private partnership (PPP) to lay a platform for the multi-billion dollar university level sports – beginning with the three sports and later expanded to other sports. The matches will be aired on all Doordarshan channels including DD Sports and will be promoted across the mediums such as radio and outdoor publicity. 

DD Sports, she said, was in the process of reforming the content, and rebranding it to make it relevant for its target audience. Sports leagues are major content differentiators in the genre. 

In 2012, NDTV had ideated similar sports league with a university-level cricket league in partnership with Association of Indian Universities and the ministry of human resource development and BCCI (Board of Cricket Control in India). The league was aimed at encouraging cricket at the university level but didn’t last beyond the first season.

Apart from Indian Premier League, there are at present five major sports leagues played across India -- Indian Super League, Hockey India League, Pro Kabaddi League, Premier Badminton League and International Premier Tennis League. 

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