PKL becomes India's highest-rated non-cricket event on TV

The final of the fifth season of the ProKabaddi League (PKL) has become India’s highest-rated non-cricket event on television, according to the viewership data released by the league and it’s official broadcaster Star Sports. 

The PKL final match has garnered 26.2 million average impressions, second only to the 39.4 million that the final of the 10th Indian Premier League (IPL) has managed.   -  AP

The final of the fifth season of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has become India’s highest-rated non-cricket event on television, according to the viewership data released by the league and it’s official broadcaster Star Sports

The match has garnered 26.2 million average impressions, second only to the 39.4 million that the final of the 10th Indian Premier League (IPL) has managed. In fact, PKL-5 final has managed to better the Rio Olympics women’s badminton final in which P.V. Sindhu took part. Tamil Nadu, with a viewership growth of 3.6 times that of the last season, was the most successful among the new markets — there were new teams based out of Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh, Gujarat and Haryana. 

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The average viewership for the league stage this season (132 games) was 14 per cent higher than that for the last season (56 games). The new markets have contributed to 28% of the total viewership for the league stage, a 5 per cent increase from the last season. The league stage viewership for the non-franchisee markets has seen a 6% increase from last season. Also, the introduction of the “New Young Players” programme has helped 62 new youngsters be a part of the league this season.

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According to E. Prasad Rao, Technical Director, PKL, around 10,000 young players across the country were put through a series of tests and around 800 were shortlisted to train at the SAI training centre in Gandhinagar, Gujarat. Among them, 130 were selected to undergo another spell of training in Mumbai and enter the player auction, from which 62 entered the league. “Most of the players hadn’t even played for their district. We didn’t look for any such qualification but only expected them to know to play kabaddi and submit their age proof,” said Prasad Rao.

The programme was for players in the 18-22 age group, which Prasad Rao said might be extended to 23 years in the future. He cited the 18-year-old Sachin of Gujarat Fortunegiants, who won the best debutant award, and the 19-year old Surinder Singh of U Mumba as examples for the beneficiaries of the programme.