What do people think of the Pro Kabaddi League?

“We’re not setting a goal, but we know the power of the game. Can we anticipate how many people will watch it on Day 1, or 29 or season 4? No. But does the sport have the potential? Yes.”
– Charu Sharma, when asked about the kind of viewership he was was expecting.

So what did the viewers think of Pro Kabaddi?



I find it gripping!

As a viewer myself I thought it was thoroughly entertaining. The last time I had anything to do with kabaddi was when I played it in school. 5 minutes in and my memory of the rules was refreshed.

The commentary and the constant camera cutting to celebrities didn’t matter to me one bit, because the action on the kabaddi mat was all I needed to be entertained. I loved it and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed myself!


It grows on you

While the few people I spoke about Pro Kabaddi shared my feeling of surprise satisfaction, Aakar Patel had a few other points to note about the first day of the tournament in his article.

He mentioned that he didn’t like how the cornerstone rule of repeating the word ‘kabaddi kabaddi’ by the raider was nonexistent,

“To watch kabaddi without ‘kabaddi-kabaddi-kabaddi’ was unfamiliar and unsettling and unsatisfying…”

The broadcast didn’t do much to explain what was happening on the television for first time viewers,

“Someone won the toss. What did they decide? We didn’t know. The commentators didn’t know. Then the thing began…”

And he had this to say about the introduction of new rules on top of old ones,

Pro Kabaddi is so confusing even its own stars don’t know the rules
Mumbai’s captain Anup Kumar was timed out on a 30-second rule. What is the rule? It wasn’t clear. Anup looked shocked. He was off to the “sitting blocks”. What are they and how does one get out? We don’t know…
The commentator said that Anup “will have to learn it quickly”. If the captain hasn’t learnt, what chance for the poor spectator?”

I didn’t completely agree with his views because I was more taken by the sport and the realization that watching kabaddi on television was actually very entertaining. Who doesn’t like a fast & tactical contact sport?

However, it took just one day and the sheer entertaining power of the sport for the same author warm up to Pro Kabaddi.

“Pro Kabaddi is actually made for television — once you can figure out what’s going on… (read more)



It is being loved on social media

Kabaddi has been gaining fans quickly, so it is no surprise that it has had a healthy impact on social media.

A report by The Economic Times showed that Pro Kabaddi’s Facebook page saw 3500 new fans added and over 30,000 people posting about the event. Twitter saw more than 6 million tweets about the first day with different hashtags tweeted within 12 hours of the broadcast.
Here are some of those tweets,



Opportunity to grow

Santosh Desai believes the idea of reviving interest in Kabaddi through the launch of a league is a bold one.

Like many of us have realised, Desai also acknowledges (as mentioned in hisarticle) that kabaddi is a sport for television.

“It is television-friendly, in that the playing arena is easy to contain on a television screen and the action happens in discrete steps that are easy to follow visually. For the layperson too, the sport is easy to get initiated for it works at a primitive level; victory and defeat are not technical contrivances but visually obvious outcomes.”

“In kabaddi, the opportunity is real, and the effort to revive interest in it truly brave, but it needs belief more than slickness. And there is much to believe in when it comes to kabaddi.”

The overall response to Pro Kabaddi has been very positive. It is clear that the organiser, Mashal Sports, are relying on the natural entertaining ability of the sport, along with organic growth of its popularity during the first year.

We will have to see how the popularity grows over the next few years. one thing is for sure, I know I will be watching as many matches as I can in that time!

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