PKL S6: Bengaluru Bulls expects 50 pc sponsorship rates hike

MUMBAI:  Who would have thought few years back that a kabaddi player would be bought in an auction for Rs. 1 crore (Rs 10 million) or above? But it happened this year --- and with quite a style. The mark was breached not once or twice, but six times, highlighting that Premier Kabaddi League (PKL) and the sports --- considered indigenous with limited following in South Asia --- is slowly coming of age with the potential to get bigger as television and Star Sports keep on adding their marketing might behind the league.

No wonder, the various team owners are as excited as the players. Team management of Bengaluru Bulls, for example, feels sponsorships this year may be more encouraging, especially as the league starts around festival time in India when advertising spend by brands are generally high.

“The sixth season is happening around Diwali and I’m expecting around 50 per cent hike in sponsorship rates this time round,” Bengaluru Bulls CEO Uday Sinh Wala told, adding the team was open to take on board all types of brands across FMCG, construction, education and banking sectors.

With a more balanced team this year --- “we have a great back-up to our raiders and defenders that was missing in the previous season” according to Sinh Wala --- Bengaluru team management is hopeful that the new-look squad would attract more sponsorship backers that could help it to, probably, break even too.

Bengal Warriors, on the other hand, too predicted an increase in sponsorship rates this year, but of around 20-25 per cent.

Meanwhile, the other team owners too are looking forward to the new season and predict a great future for the PKL and players. UMumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers owners Ronnie Screwvala and Abhishek Bachchan, respectively, had earlier predicted big player buys before the auction process, saying that several players could breach the Rs. 1 crore mark.

The big buys of the two-day auction process were led by Monu Goyat, bought by Haryana Steelers for Rs 1.51 crore (Rs.15.1 million). Though by cricketing and IPL standard, the price is chickenfeed, but it has put the 26-year-old Goyat in an elite league of PKL.

Rahul Chaudhari has been retained by using final bid match by Telugu Titans for Rs 1.29 crore (Rs. 12.9 million). Deepak Nivas Hooda is the third player in the `crorepati’ list with Rs 1.15 crore (Rs. 11.5 million) having being bought by Jaipur Pink Panthers. Nitin Tomar, previous years highest earner, was sold for Rs 1.15 crore (Rs. 11.5 million) to Puneri Paltans followed by Rishank Devadiga, who was snapped up for Rs 1.11 crore (Rs. 11.1 million) by UP Yoddhas.

Out of the 422 players in the auction list, only 181 players were sold in the auction process.

Also Read :

Pro Kabaddi League concludes auction for season six

Pro Kabaddi League makes first ever player auction of Rs 10 mn

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