The Success of Pro Kabbadi League – Strategy With RS

Did you know that Pro Kabaddi League – ‪#‎PKL‬ is the 2nd most viewed sporting event (Viewership: 435 million) after IPL (552 million) in India?

It has attracted 3x more viewership than FIFA World Cup 2014! What has attracted viewers to this sporting event, which till recently was played in hinterlands of India & hence had little relate ability, near zero aspiration & extremely little relevance to urban youth!‪#‎Star‬ when it decided to adopt Kabaddi took on board these issues & decided to address them strategically.

Their strategy rested on 2 pillars to deliver world-class experience to viewers & marrying it with glamour & aspiration:

1. Delivering world class ‪#‎experience‬ to viewers: They invited world class Production team to produce the content, so that viewers could get a ringside view of the excitement happening on the playground – for this 15 cameras were mounted across the arena. The broadcast was adequately supported by statistics, graphics & analytics to boost the perception that kabaddi is a serious game. And commentators were chosen who were fluent with kabaddi vocabulary, which they could effortlessly & mellifluously deploy to describe the action!

2.Infusing glamour to create aspiration, relate ability & relevance: Celebrities from all walks of life – ‪#‎Bollywood‬, ‪#‎Cricket‬, TV, graced the venue. The Bollywood brigade was lead by ‪#‎Bachchan‬ clan – ‪#‎Amitabh‬, Jaya, ‪#‎Aishwarya‬, ‪#‎Abhishek‬ accompanied by their daughter, Aaradhya; this contingent was backed-up by ‪#‎SalmanKhan‬, ‪#‎PriyankaChopra‬, ‪#‎AjayDevgan‬; Cricketing brigade was led by ‪#‎Sachin‬, ‪#‎Dhoni‬. The presence of these celebrities helped to make Kabaddi aspirational & relevant & when the cameras captured their agony & ecstasy, the viewers too started relating with game & started living & breathing it.

3. 360 degree communication: The theme song, ‘Le Panga’ was sung by Amitabh Bachchan. TV spots, Hoardings, supported this event. Amitabh Bachchan singing the National Anthem flagged off the opening event of PKL 2.

4. To keep the excitement alive a women’s Kabaddi league may be is in the offing!

Lesson for us: Every problem can be overcome provided the issues are identified correctly. Then the issues must be addressed robustly through a strategy. Equal effort & resources must be put behind executing of the strategy.




In this series, Rajesh Srivastava, Business Strategist and Visiting Faculty at IIM Indore gives you a regular dose of strategy case studies to help you think and keep you one step ahead as a professional as compared to your peers. Rajesh is an alumnus of IIM Bangalore and IIT Kanpur and has over 2 decades of experience in the FMCG industry. All previous Strategy with RS posts can be found here


One comment

amit pathari

I mean we just watch the show…..
It is really exciting to understand what efforts and strategies play the role in rocking the show.
Is it the same thing “case studies” in iims?