Mumbai: The stakes are soaring high as the six Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK) franchisees gear up for the season 2 player draft in Bhubaneswar on 21 November. The inaugural season ignited a sporting frenzy, thrusting it to claim the title of India’s third-largest non-cricketing league in audience outreach.
Armed with Rs. 3.90 crore in the purse, the six franchisees will battle it out to secure a formidable lineup from the 275 players available in the pool. The draft promises a fierce battleground, with Maharashtra dominating the forefront with 18 players, that emerged triumphant in the recently concluded National Games held in Goa.
Promoted by Amit Burman in partnership with the Kho Kho Federation of India, UKK remains steadfast in its mission to reimagine the growth of indigenous sport with greater dynamism and engagement.
With minimum of 20 and a maximum of 35 players, each franchise will have 35 draft rounds to complete their team combinations for the second edition. While 18 players have been retained by the teams; the remaining players have been put under four categories, A, B, C and D. Category A players are priced at Rs. five lac, Category B will get Rs. three lac each and C and D are categorised at Rs. 1.5 lac and Rs. one lac respectively. Franchisees will have the option to select players based on their respective draft sequence and purse capacity.
In all, 293 players are in the pool have been divided into three segments. The 18 players retained by the franchisees fall in the ‘Power Players’ category. Players who were part of Season 1 but have not been retained are known as ‘Pole Players’. While the new set of players recommended either by the franchisees or the Kho Kho Federation of India will be called ‘Dream Players’.
Defending champions Odisha Juggernauts have retained four players from the last season, while Chennai Quick Guns three, including Player of the Tournament Ramji Kashyap and Young Player of the Tournament Madan. Gujarat Giants showed faith in Defender of the Tournament Abhinandan Patil besides two others. Mumbai Khiladis retained two of the players Gajanan Shengal and Sreejesh S from the previous season. Meanwhile Rajasthan Warriors and Telugu Yoddhas have retained three players each.
The thrilling action from Season 2 will be broadcast live on Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI)’s sports channels as well as livestream on Sony LIV.