The sport of ‘Kabaddi’ is very close to the Indian subcontinent and one the most popular sports in India. Kabaddi is a contact team sport which is played between 2 teams of seven players each. The aim is for the offensive player, called the ‘raider’, to run into the opposition’s half of the court and tag as many players as he can in a single breath, without being tackled by the defenders. Pro Kabaddi League is the professional-level kabaddi league in India.
India has been quite successful as India has taken part in 4 Asian Games in Kabaddi and has managed to win gold in all 4 of them. There are basically four forms of Kabaddi played in India, namely Amar, Suranjeevi, Huttuttoo, and Gaminee. Out of these, Suranjeevi is the form used in International matches generally and played in Asian Games.
Pro Kabaddi League:
Even though the sport is native to India, it was on the decline in metro cities as people preferred more western sports like cricket, football, etc. But there was a resurgence in the popularity of the sport after the foundation of Pro Kabaddi League in India. Pro Kabaddi League or PKL is a professional level kabaddi league in India which launched in 2014. Initially, there were doubts if the India Pro Kabaddi League would be successful as many leagues have tried to emulate the success of the Indian Premier League’s (IPL) business model and success but unlike cricket, there are very few well-known players in kabaddi.
However, it was also duly noted that kabaddi was widely popular in grassroots community settings, and could thus attract a wide variety of rural and metropolitan viewers for advertisers to target if the league gained significant traction. Pro Kabaddi League in India was a huge success. The inaugural season of PKL was seen by 435 million viewers, only second to the 2014 Indian Premier League’s 552 million viewers. The first season’s final between Jaipur Pink Panthers and U-Mumba was watched by 86.4 million. Star Sports, PKL’s broadcaster, subsequently announced in 2015 that it would acquire a 74% stake in the league’s parent company Mashal Sports after looking at the success of the league.
Pro Kabaddi League started its first season with 8 teams. For the 2017 and 2018-19 seasons, PKL added four new teams, and changed its format to split the teams into two divisions known as “zones”. Soon, the league returned to its regular double round-robin format for the 2019 season.
Right now, there are 12 teams in the league, Let’s look at the Pro Kabaddi Teams in the league:
- Bengal Warriors
- Bengaluru Bulls
- Dabang Delhi KC
- Gujarat Fortune Giants
- Haryana Steelers
- Jaipur Pink Panthers
- Patna Pirates
- Puneri Paltan
- Tamil Thalaivas
- Telugu Titans
- U Mumba
- UP Yoddha
Prize money for the winner of Pro Kabaddi League season 6 was ₹3 crore. The first and second runners-up were awarded ₹1.83 crores and ₹1.2 crores respectively. The consolidated prize money for season 7 is ₹8 crore. The champions of season 7 will bag ₹3 crores while the runners-up will receive ₹1.8 crores. The losing semi-finalists will receive ₹90 lakh each and the fifth and the sixth-placed teams will earn ₹45 lakh.