Star India likely to earn Rs 200-250 crore from PKL 6

Apart from Vivo, Star has roped in Thumps Up as ‘powered by’, Bajaj Electricals, Honda & Tata Motors deshketruck as ‘associate’ sponsors and RR Kables as ‘broadcast’ sponsors.

It may not be as popular as an IPL or a Cricket World Cup, but Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is definitely one of the most popular non-cricketing events in India today. The sixth season of the league will kick off on October 7 and official broadcaster Star India is all set for the extravaganza with some big brands on board.

According to an estimate by media planners, Star is likely to generate Rs 200-250 crore in advertising revenue from TV and digital. The broadcaster last year signed a five-year title sponsorship deal with Vivo for Rs 300 crore (Rs 60 crore a year). Apart from Vivo, the channel has roped in Thumps Up as ‘powered by’ sponsors and Bajaj Electricals, Honda & Tata Motors deshketruck as ‘associate’ sponsors and RR Kables as ‘broadcast’ sponsors.

Talking about Tata Motors' association with the league, UT Ramprasad, Head-Marketing & Brand Communication- Tata Motors Commercial Vehicle Business Unit, said, "The successful experience  of the earlier seasons has encouraged Tata Trucks to come on board with  PKL as a central sponsor (in addition to our association with UP Yodha team), thus allowing a deeper and more integrated association with the sport. This association is allowing us to showcase our entire range, thus garnering greater ROI on the investment made. Among our portfolio, we are liaising for Tata Yodha as a brand that stands for kabaddi." 

Tata Motors has been associated with PKL for three years now. The partnership began with an association with U-Mumba in Season 4 and then UP Yodha began in Season 5. 

According to RR Kabel, kabaddi is one of India’s best loved sports and its fan following includes many of their priority markets and user segments.

“RR Kabel is delighted to be associated with Pro Kabaddi League for the second year in a row. The excitement of the sport and the passion and dedication of the players is a great parallel to the spirit of RR Kabel,” said Shishir Sharma, Head of Marketing, RR Kabel.

“We built our sponsorship into an integrated online/offline marketing plan that enhances the relationship between our brand, our customers, and kabaddi. This includes social media contests, digital activations, and user-generated content. Last year, we saw a direct connection between our sponsorship association and our digital engagement and we look forward to the next phase of marketing innovation,” Sharma added

Though Star has not given out any official figures yet, sources in the industry claim that the channel quoted Rs 8-12 crore for ‘associate’ and Rs 5-6 crore for ‘other’ sponsorships.

According to media planners, around 70-80 per cent inventory has been sold already and the rest has been kept on hold for sale later at higher rates. For the sixth season, the ad rate for a 10-second slot during matches is estimated to be around Rs 1.5- 2 lakh. “They have sold all sponsorships, from ‘associate’ to ‘co-partners’. They could be clocking anything between Rs 200 and Rs 250 crore,” said a media planner.

Another senior media planner says that PKL is a good property and Star does a good job selling it. “There are a lot of sports inventory in the market right now. But PKL is a good property and Star does a good job at selling it. I will be surprised if they don’t increase their sales by 20-25 per cent this year,” said the planner. “Rs 200-250 is a fair figure to go. If the market responds well to Star’s proposal, it can be close to Rs 300 crore,” he added.

According to GroupM’s ‘Sporting Nation in the Making’ report 2018, going by television ratings, PKL is the second-most popular league in India after IPL. The gap between the TV ratings of PKL and IPL is narrowing (in 2017, PKL delivered 1.5 TVR with 312 million reaches and IPL delivered 2.7 TVR with 411 million) and PKL has emerged as a popular sport property.

Validating the report, another media planner said that in terms of reach, ratings and cost efficiency, “PKL is nothing less than IPL.”

“Brands are leveraging on this property. In today’s scenario, PKL is the only non-cricketing property in India encashed by advertisers. In terms of reach, ratings and cost efficiency, it's nothing less than IPL. For brands that want to target male audience but do not have the kind of budget to be associated with IPL, PKL is the best entry point,” the planner explained.

During the fifth season, the tournament expanded, both in terms of number of teams and duration. Four new franchises-- Gujarat Fortunegiants, Tamil Thalaivas, UP Yoddha and Haryana Steelers--were added, taking the total to 12.

According to Vidhu Sagar, National Director - PointNine Lintas at MullenLowe Lintas Group, PKL is "doing great" and is "shaping up quite well".

“PKL is a great property. It's a property which is doing extremely well. Star India is of course banking on it for the avenues. Since it's the sixth season, the league has caught the momentum now and they will be consolidating from here. They have everything to look forward to. If PKL continues to go this way, I won’t be surprised if they soon cover the gap between them and IPL. It's shaping up quite well. Of course, IPL is the way ahead in terms of revenues, rates, appeal and traction, but kabaddi is an Indian sport and so has given rise to this interesting phenomenon. This is a league which is now ready to give reward to the broadcaster.” 

Indranil Das Blah, Founding Partner at Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions, believes that the sixth season of PKL should be successful. “PKL has done well for itself every season since its inception. I think it should be a successful season,” he said.

Beginning October 7, the league will travel across 13 host cities and culminate in Mumbai. The 12 teams have been divided into 2 zones of 6 teams each. Each of them will be playing 15 intra-zone and 7 inter-zone matches prior to the playoffs. The playoff stage will comprise three action-packed qualifiers and two eliminators scheduled to take place in Kochi and Mumbai.

exchange4media reached out to Star for an official response on the story, but is yet to get a reply. For more updates, subscribe to exchange4media's WhatsApp Channel-

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