Live viewers were restricted last season due to pandemic.

Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) season 9 is set to commence on October 7 and will be a two-month affair going on till mid-December across three venues. Last season due to the pandemic the fans were restricted from watching the action live but in season 9 the fans will be back after a two-year hiatus. It was back in 2019 when Bengal Warriors won the trophy the fans had last witnessed a PKL match live from the stadium.

This season although the pandemic has gone down relatively still the organizers have not taken the risk of organizing in all the 12 venues. There are possibilities of players catching covid during travel. Due to these reasons, the league is set to be played across Bengaluru, Pune, and Hyderabad.

Impact of fans’ presence on the players

Fans play an important role in the development of any sport and players. Many players would agree that playing PKL without any crowd will not cheer them up to perform on big stages. From season 1 to date almost on all occasions the stadiums have been full. Players tend to perform to their best when they get support from the spectators which is always an added advantage.

Apart from PKL, there are not many leagues where the players get noticed with huge support. There are still places in India where Kabaddi is played on empty ground and draw a larger audience, especially in remote villages. From here players move on to play for their districts and State teams.

In none of the state or the National leagues, do the players get as much support from PKL’s perspective. Playing the PKL in front of a full stadium helps players develop themselves in pressure situations. Scoring winning points in let’s say do or die raid in front of a capacity crowd will boost the player’s confidence and momentum.

This season especially the youngsters will have a good taste of crowds presence and how to deal with it during crunch situations. More importantly, Bengaluru Bulls, Puneri Paltan, and Telugu Titans will have massive support and shall be the lucky ones with full support.

From the league’s point of view

Sponsorships

From PKL season 1 to date the brand value of PKL has risen to great heights. All these can be attributed to the franchise’s fan base and their following of the sport. PKL is the 2nd most watched private league in India overtaking the likes of ISL. The primary reason for the league’s success can be the fast-paced game and specific rule changes making it exciting for the audience.

Also, everyone in their childhood will have played Kabaddi on roads or on the empty ground being a familiar and indigenous sport of India. All these factors together make the fans connect with the game. The league from a financial point has had good success with good sponsorships for both the franchises and the league.

During the season 1 auction, Rakesh Kumar was the highest bid player with 12.8 lakhs and fast forward nine seasons the highest bid player is Pawan Sehrawat with 2.26 crores. If we look carefully the franchise purse has not increased much staying close to 4 crores but the player’s value has increased rapidly.

In IPL we see every year 5 crores being increased in franchise purses thus an increase in players’ purses which is not the case with PKL having to bid with more or less the same amount.

The success of PKL again as mentioned is due to the fans and their involvement in the game making more people sponsor the league and eventually in the coming years the player’s value also increases.

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