The rise of kabaddi’s premier franchise competition should prove a watershed moment for emerging sports in the country.

The numbers are in – the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) is the 2nd most popular sports tournament in India in terms of viewership numbers, trailing behind the Indian Premier League (IPL) which remains the biggest sports event in India.

For many years, the popularity of the Indian Premier League seemed insurmountable. It looked like no other sport would ever challenge the enormous viewership numbers of the IPL and the massively loyal fan base that the tournament enjoys. But that perception may be starting to change.

Although the Pro Kabaddi League is still only at about 75% the viewership rate of the IPL, the PKL is a young tournament that was only established a few years ago. 

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at the background of kabaddi, and try to analyse how kabaddi has been able to exist for thousands of years and still be one of the most popular sports to this day.

History of Kabaddi in India

Kabaddi is one of the oldest sports in India, and perhaps, one of the oldest sports known to mankind.

Originating in ancient India, the sport is said to have been played by legendary characters from the god Krishna to Gautama Buddha thousands of years ago. And to this day, the sport still remains popular all over the Indian subcontinent and beyond.

And although kabaddi is significantly lacking behind the more popular sports (namedly cricket) it is rapidly catching up and becoming among the most popular sports disciplines in India.

The popularity of kabaddi began to seriously accelerate in the year 2014 when the Pro Kabaddi League was established in India.

The PKL has succeeded in modernising the sport and establishing a loyal and growing audience, mainly in India, but also in countries outside of India.

If you’ve been wanting to learn more about kabaddi, or perhaps even watch a kabaddi match, then the PKL is the perfect place to start. In this article, we will hook you up with a handful of facts about the PKL that you probably didn’t know about!

PKL Format Was Improved to Attract Viewers

Due to the gradual evolution that happens in every sport, kabaddi is a very different sport today compared to what it once was. 

Of course, the overall idea of the game remains the same, but the way the game is played would have looked very different more than 2000 years ago when it was allegedly played by Gautama Buddha.

The format of modern kabaddi is more regulated and fast-paced than earlier versions of the game, and this is largely thanks to improvements introduced by the PKL tournament. The league has elevated the sport of kabaddi to international standards by introducing new innovations in the rules. 

When the PKL was established in 2014, the founders of the tournament sought to revive the sport in India and create an event that would be more enjoyable to watch and therefore attract a larger audience.

This happened by introducing new rules such as the “super tackle” which is triggered when the defensive side has three or fewer players on the field. When the defenders score a super tackle, it is worth two points instead of one.

In addition, they introduced the so-called “do or die”-rule which means that if a raider performs more than two empty raids in a row, the raider must score a point, otherwise he will be declared out.

In order to ensure the growth of the PKL, the founders of the tournament joined hands with international broadcasting giant, Star India to make Kabaddi a household name in India.

The new kabaddi format has obviously had a very profound and positive impact on the popularity of kabaddi in the country, seeing as the PKL has now grown to become the 2nd most watched sports event in India after the IPL.

Betting on Kabaddi Has Boosted the Popularity of the Sport

Another factor which has boosted the popularity of kabaddi in India is betting.

Betting is largely illegal in India, however, legal loopholes exist which enable Indians to use internationally-based online betting sites.

Using online betting sites makes it possible for Indians to engage with the tournament in a whole new way. Players can place bets on the outcome of individual matches or on the winner of the PKL, among many other betting options.

The opportunity to bet on kabaddi has made the PKL way more popular in the past 5 years.

According to renowned betting comparison site BetBlazers.com, the number of Indian visitors on their website increases three-fold when the PKL tournament is on.

However, Indians should be careful and always use common sense when betting on kabaddi, as online betting can come with significant risks of financial loss.

Furthermore, players are encouraged to always use the best betting sites in India, in order to avoid getting scammed by untrustworthy betting sites.

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