Star India’s PKL draws higher sponsorship revenues in season 6

In May, Vivo signed a five-year deal with PKL as its title sponsor

MUMBAI: The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) auctions saw six players command over a crore, offering further proof of the property’s rising popularity in terms of viewership and advertising interest.

If we look at the viewership, the live telecast of PKL season 5 garnered 1.6 billion impressions with a target audience of 2+ which was broadcast on eight channels. Rural contributed to 75 per cent of the overall viewership and the remaining was contributed by urban audience.

UMumba CEO Supratik Sen said, “Performance does matter. In season 1 to 3, brands were really excited to speak to us, in season 4 and 5, we did not perform well. We have got our sponsors and we are happy with the way the league is functioning. The overall sponsorship including jersey, on-ground and title has increased because we have changed the team and the range is Rs 4-4.5 crore right now. The team has a list of good sponsors like Indigo paints, Syska, MI, Aisen (new electronic brand) and Wintogeno. The team is in talks with two more brands and are planning to have a total of 8-9 sponsors.”

According to an industry source, the sponsorship for the best team would be in the range of Rs 1.5-3 crore, which can only be fetched by 2 or 3 teams. Star India is pegged to earn around Rs 150 crore from the ad revenue and sponsorship this season, the source adds.

Bengaluru Bulls CEO Uday Sinh Wala said, “As the festive season is approaching, we have lots of activations for the fans. We are still in talks with 2 more brands and hopefully we will get our title sponsor. The range this time has increased to Rs 1.5 to 3.5 crore.” The team has only one brand - MI - on board so far.

“Things do change in the first 2-5 matches as the people want to look at how the team is performing. This time our tickets will be priced very low and will be in the range of Rs 300-500 which was previously in the range of Rs 800-1000,” Sen added.

Tamil Thalaivas has brands like Orbit, Valvoline, Moship, Tractor emulsion, BKT, Radiomirchi 98.3 and Paytm. Brands that connect, get the whole of Tamil Nadu to activate.

Tamil Thalaivas CEO Viren Dsilva said, “With the brands we have till now, we see the potential in terms of connect with the audience. There are brands who are looking to exploit it beyond the simple television exposure. I think the brands plan to earmark as part of their yearly calendar and we as a club are extending the calendar in terms of activities we do year round."

Another industry expert said, “It’s been better than ISL so far. The sponsorships depend on market to market. Teams like Patna Pirates and Tamil Thalaivas have been the most successful in terms of sponsorship. Patna Pirates is in the list as it has performed very well in the previous seasons.”

The latest season of PKL features 12 teams participating in close to 140 matches that are spread over 13 weeks. In May, Chinese handset maker Vivo signed a five-year deal with PKL as its title sponsor.

Gujarat Fortunegaints CEO Sanjay Adesara said, “The brands' response this time has been better than the previous seasons. We have sold all our spots and we have brands like MI, Adani, Fogg, Fru2go, Jade Blue, Ranjit Rockey and Odayo. Brands connected with us from the start because they get more mileage as the league starts. We have seen an overall growth of 20-25 per cent as compared to last season.”

It seems like brands resist putting money beforehand and instead prefer to wait to grab a good deal.

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