PKL continues to grow in popularity

PKL continues to grow in popularity

PKL continues to grow in popularity

 When the inaugural edition of the Pro Kabaddi League was launched in July last year, the response it drew from people across the country was phenomenal.

After a successful first season, which saw fans wholeheartedly accept kabaddi and the format of the league which is closely modelled on the Indian Premier League, the second season was looked upon with greater curiosity.  With U Mumba clinching the crown in an exciting finale against Bengaluru Bulls on Sunday, the second season has only got better, feel fans.

“In the first season, people were more excited about the idea itself but now the following from the fans is hardcore,” feels Apoorva Sidhu, a graphic designer from the City.

 Having watched all the matches on TV in the first season, it was a great experience to watch the high adrenaline action in the stadium, says Apoorva, a Bengaluru Bulls’ fan. “The biggest advantage of this league is the proximity. We can watch our stars play from close quarters which do not happen in popular sports such as cricket,” she explains.

If the inaugural season attracted the youth, the following for PKL is getting diverse, feels Avanish Hegde, a sports publicist. Having travelled to different venues, Avanish feels even the middle-aged and the older generation are thronging to stadiums. “People are aware of the techniques of kabaddi and the game is understood well from people of different age groups and not just the youngsters alone,” says Avanish.

More home players

Deepak S, an IT professional, stresses that franchises must try and bring in more local players to increase the following. “They (organisers) can pull in more crowds if teams field more local players,” reasons Deepak.

Uday Sinh Wala, the owner of Bengaluru Bulls, a team that has only one player from Karnataka (Sunil Hanumanthappa), responded in a positive manner. “We are ready to bring in more players if that helps us get more followers. Before the third season, we plan to conduct camps across Karnataka and identify local talents. We will sit with the organisers for an overall review and based on the guidelines given by them, we will work towards it,” said Uday.

 The road ahead

Looking ahead, Mashal Sports’ co founder Charu Sharma, the brain behind the league, plans to introduce more teams. “We want the league to go uninterrupted for three seasons post which changes will be incorporated. We plan to introduce a minimum of two more teams,” said Charu.

Charu said the third season will be launched soon. “We are pleased with popularity. The broadcasters have claimed a great increase in viewership. The next season will be launched in January or February next year.”

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