Audiences turn their back on Pro Kabaddi League, read what is the reason

India’s second most popular sports league Star Sports VIVO Pro Kabaddi League season 6 has seen a sharp drop in its viewership of the first 24 matches. As compared to the fifth season of PKL, the ongoing season 6 has a 31% drop in the viewership for the first 24 matches.

According to Broadcast Research Council of India (BARC), the rural viewership has dropped 25% in the urban market, whereas it is worst in the rural area with a 33% decline. PKL saw 237.2 million impressions in the first 24 matches across 9 channels where it’s telecast live, compared to the 344.7 million last season.

Out of 9, only 1 channel saw a rise in its viewership and the viewership of the remaining 8 channels has fallen down, according to BARC data. There is an increase in the viewership of Star Sports Tamil to 89%. Star Sports Hindi 1 and Star Sports 2 have registered downfall of 18% and 45% respectively. In addition to this, the viewership of free to air channel Star Sports First also declined to 42%.

The Pro Kabaddi League was launched in 2014. In its first season, the league witnessed a mammoth viewership of 435 million and a massive 86.4 million for the final match. In 2015, Star Sports acquired 74% stake in Mashal Sports who is the administrator of the league. Compared to season 1 there was an increase of 45% in the viewership of PKL season 2.

After four seasons the format of 8 teams was changed to 12 teams in last season. Earlier the league use to wrap-up in 37 days itself but now it almost goes to 90 days. One of the reasons for the decline can also be the tiredness of the audience due to the increased duration of the league.

In this season, Tamil market saw an increase as the league started in Chennai. In the previous season, the first leg was Hyderabad. The lack of impactful marketing strategies could be one of the biggest reasons behind this viewership downfall.

Other factors that may have hit the viewership of the PKL may be the ongoing India and West Indies cricket series. The currently happening football league, Indian Super League might also divide the audience of the sport. Overall sports audience is divided between Cricket, Football, and Kabaddi. Along with this the broadcast time of Pro Kabaddi League clashes with the reality shows like Bigg Boss, Kaun Banega Crorepati, Indian Idol and Dance Plus and other leading reality shows make an impact on the viewership of PKL.

If this situation persists for a long time it will be difficult for the Kabaddi fans in India. As Pro Kabaddi League is the second most watched league in India it acts as a morale booster for other sports leagues. It is one of the only non-cricketing leagues that has received such a massive crowd support all these years. Many sports leagues have been inspired by the PKL.

The sixth season of PKL is ongoing. It started on 7th October 2018 and will wrap up on 5th January 2018. Till now 42 matches have been played.