Kabaddi wins Indians' Hearts at Opening week

Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi reach for the first 8 days now stands at 72.5 million viewers as per TAM data for week 31.

August 08, 2014 11:20 IST | India Infoline News Service
Kabaddi looks poised to become India's favorite second sport with an astounding 218 million viewers tuning into Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi League's opening games, unprecedented for a sport other than cricket. As per TAM data for week 31, Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi reach for the first 8 days now stands at 72.5 million viewers. This when extrapolated to All India Universe, as per standard industry conversions, means that over 218 million Indians have watched the tournament.

The game's resurrection as a mainstream sport through the League saw it trounce viewership numbers for football, hockey and others to become second only to cricket. Data shows entire families, including women, children and youth, tracked Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi League, an initiative that's part of Star's larger effort to spawn a multi-sport culture in India.

In all, 32% of all viewers were women and 22% children. The strategy of making the sport appealing to youth has paid off with 25% of all viewers in the 15-24 age segment.

In its glory days, the sport enjoyed a rich heritage where it was practiced during festivals and after harvest as a matter of celebration. Star endeavors to restore that festive air around Kabaddi and set it in today's context to make it more appealing to the youth.
"Kabaddi has every ingredient, including skill, strategy and speed, to emerge as a serious sport and win a fan following. The opening week response is especially encouraging given that it is a true blue Indian sport," Star India CEO Uday Shankar said.

“To Charu and me, the popularity of Kabaddi was never in question. However we have been genuinely overwhelmed by the support the game has received from all quarters, be it the media, film fraternity, sportspersons or the government. The viewership data further reinforces that Pro Kabaddi could be India's sports revolution in the making", said, Anand Mahindra, Co-promoter, Mashal Sports.

The strategy of sampling through Star Gold has paid off with a 37% growth in Star Gold’s prime-time slot. This first-of-its-kind Star Sports Pro-Kabaddi league, since inaugural, has become one of the most talked-about events on social media. The on-line buzz and conversations continues to build with 910 million impressions online, in the first 8 days of the tournament, in itself a record for a comeback sport. The games continue to witness high celebrity turnout – attracting icons from film, television and political leaders to watch the revamp of this ancient sport.

The broadcast of STAR Sports Pro Kabaddi is on STAR Sports channels, STAR Gold and starsports.com

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