PKL Season 7 ad rates up nearly 20% from last year  

Industry experts say the increasing popularity of kabaddi and viewership of the league have made Vivo Pro Kabaddi League lucrative for brands

e4m by Tasmayee Laha Roy
Updated: Jul 17, 2019 8:20 AM

As Telugu Titans, U Mumba, Bengaluru Bulls and Gujarat Fortune Giants get ready to lock horns in the opening matches of the seventh edition of Vivo Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), media buyers have got busy closing with last-minute inventory buying for the second most popular sporting league in the country.

Experts say the seventh season of PKL has seen incremental pricing when it comes to ad rates. The ad rates, it is said, range anywhere between Rs 1.5 lakh/10 seconds and Rs 2 lakh/10 seconds and may go up further closer to the finals. 

What does PKL offer advertisers? 

According to industry experts, the huge viewership of the league is an incentive for the brands. “Tournaments such as the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) and Indian Premier League (IPL) are quite popular amongst brands for increasing visibility. The demands and the space for ad along with the prices are often high due to a franchise-based business model. These sports leagues are a robust platform for brands to reach out to their potential customers and create instant recall due to high viewership,” said Sameer Makani, Co-founder and Managing Director, Makani Creatives.

According to media expert Anita Nayyar, low-entry barriers make advertising lucrative in PKL. “The ad rates have seen a hike anywhere between 10 per cent and 20 per cent this season. Thanks to the increasing popularity of the sport and the huge viewership that the league has enjoyed in the past seasons, the ad rates have seen regular hikes,” she said. 

“PKL has emerged as a strong contender to cricket in terms of ratings and viewership. Last year, it enjoyed a viewership of 872 million in rural markets and 316 million in urban areas. More than a billion people in the country watch Kabaddi and that's a huge number. So the value of this property is only increasing and we do feel that the viewership will witness an appreciable surge in the upcoming season,” said Sumeet Yadav, CEO, DO IT (owners of Dabang Delhi Kabaddi Club).

The overall sentiment around the sport is also at an all-time high and that has in turn pushed advertising revenues, the experts said. Most industry heads we spoke to agreed that the ad rates for the season have gone up close to 20 per cent from last year. 

“Kabaddi has cemented its position as India’s No. 2 league. PKL has played a pivotal role in building Kabaddi as a sport and hence consumers’ relationship and affinity has been growing with PKL over the last 6 seasons and fans are eagerly looking forward to Season 7. Advertisers have been riding this wave and are strategically aligning their campaigns around PKL. The franchisees are also doing their bit by localising the sport and building communities around it. Broadcast strategy by Star Sports has been world class and with regional feeds and local language commentary we are pretty much assured of an exciting Season 7,” said Vinit Karnik, Business Head, ESP Properties, GroupM.

Experts also credit Star’s marketing initiative for popularising the league among prospective advertisers. “The fact that the league is in its seventh season shows that it is a profitable property. Also, anything that Star picks up they market it very well. While cricket is the hot cake, Star has also created a second line of sports which is also very popular and Kabbadi is one of them. Advertisers have also seen the opportunity in the league and invested in all the other seasons, and this season is no different. Alongside the regular advertisers and regular sponsors we have new names like Dream11 on board,” said Sudhir Kumar, Director Offline Media, DCMN India.

Like the ICC World Cup, Star is again gearing up for multi-channel coverage. While the national campaign for PKL was launched during the India vs England match in the World Cup, their Telugu promo starring NTR Jr is all over the internet. “Engaging audiences even further are numerous ongoing campaigns by PKL, including 4 advertisements during the cricket World Cup. One of these advertisements also featured M S Dhoni, which garnered higher attention from fans across regions. PKL was earlier broadcasted over 9 channels and this increased to 16 channels last year,” added Yadav.

Talking of the kind of brands that have shown interest in the league, Nayyar said, “The league has a huge male audience and hence brands catering to men’s products have shown interest in the league. Brands selling deodorants, men’s clothing, cement and TMT bars, and two-wheelers are some who count on the popularity of the sport. A huge chunk of viewership for PKL also comes from Tier II and Tier III cities, so brands with an interest in those markets also consider PKL as a profitable option.”

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