The Pro Kabaddi league owners and host broadcasters Star Sports have dedicated premier Hindi movie screen Star Gold for the live broadcast of the league in the middle of Season 6 in bid to halt the slump in the television ratings of the second most watched sporting property in India after cricket. It can’t get bigger than this for Pro Kabaddi.
On the days when there is no cricket, PKL live broadcast has been the most consumed sports genre content on Indian television. Amidst reports of sharp decline in television audience, the first 36 games in the ongoing PKL Season 6 have aggregated 321.8 million impressions (TG: All India 2+).
During the weeks when there is no live cricket, Kabaddi has been among atop the Top 5 charts for the most watched sports genre shows and channels in the Broadcast Audience Research Council of India ratings.
The Urban-Rural split for the first 34 games of the season has been 85 million and 236.5 million, respectively. Impressive numbers for a non-cricket sport’s broadcast in India, but far below by PKL’s own standards and expectations of all stakeholders, broadcaster and league owner Star Sports included.
The concern over the decline in the commercial performance of its own property has prompted Star India to dedicate one of its primary entertainment screens, Star Gold, for the PKL Live broadcast.
Insidesport.co has written to the Star Sport for an official response, which is still awaited at the time of publishing this report.
Star Gold, the prime Hindi movie channel, has a deep reach in the precious Hindi Speaking Markets, which incidentally happen to be the areas where PKL has struggled to match the expectations.
The BARC data for the first 34 games also reveals that the HSM States of Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir have contribute a mere 6% of the total PKL audience, whereas the number has further dipped to 5% in Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand. Andhra and Telangana with 27% contribution have been the best market for PKL.
The strategic addition to add Star Gold to the broadcast screens for the PKL may give the much-needed push to halt the decline in ratings, which though will also gain better eyeballs as the competition recovers from the proverbial mid-season slump.
Overall, PKL has started on a weak not this season with the ratings for the first 24 games taking a 31% hit in comparison to the corresponding period in the previous edition. While the urban market has registered 25% decline, the loss in the rural market was reported at 33%.
The loss is also attributed to the experiment with an exceptionally long season for the league, which the experts believe will be compensated to a good extent as the action gets more intense in the knock out phase.