Pro Kabaddi League
|Tournament format||Double round-robin league and playoffs|
|Number of teams||12|
|Current champion||Bengal Warriors (1st title)|
|Most successful||Patna Pirates (3 titles)|
The league's inception was influenced by the popularity of the kabaddi tournament at the 2006 Asian Games. The format of the competition was influenced by Indian Premier League. The Pro Kabaddi League uses a franchise-based model and its first season was held in 2014 with eight teams each of which having paid fees of up to US$250,000 to join.
There were doubts over whether the PKL would be successful, noting that there were many leagues attempting to emulate the IPL's business model and success, and that unlike cricket, there were relatively fewer well-known players in Kabaddi. However, it was also noted that kabaddi was widely played in grassroots community settings, and could thus attract a wide variety of rural and metropolitan viewers for advertisers to target if the league gained significant traction.
The inaugural season was seen by 435 million viewers, second to the 2014 Indian Premier League's 552 million, while the first season final between Jaipur Pink Panthers and U-Mumba was watched by 86.4 million. Star Sports, the PKL's broadcaster, subsequently announced in 2015 that it would acquire a 74% stake in the league's parent company Mashal Sports.
For the 2017 and 2018-19 season, the PKL added four new teams, and changed its format to split the teams into two divisions known as "zones". Soon the league returned to its regular double round-robin format for the 2019 season.
The PKL's rules are similar to that of the indoor team version of Kabaddi, but with additional rules to encourage more scoring. Playing two "empty" raids in a row will trigger a "do-or-die raid", where the raider must score a point or they will be declared out. When a defensive side has three or fewer players remaining, tackles are scored as a "Super Tackle", which is worth two points instead of one.
The first signing and auction of players for the 8 teams was held on 20 May 2014 in Mumbai. India's national kabaddi captain Rakesh Kumar was the priciest among the players bought for ₹12.80 lakh by the Patna Pirates. Sports Authority of India's Deepak Niwas Hooda was bought by Telugu Titans franchise for ₹12.60 lakh. Tae Deok Eom was the highest paid overseas player bought for ₹7 lakh by Patna franchise.
The duration of the season was from 26 July 2014 to 31 August 2014. There were double round-robin matches along with two semifinals, third place and final games. 56 games were to be played in first round and 4 in playoff stage, making total of 60 games. 8 teams took part in first edition. First game was played on July 26 between U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers and the final was played on August 31 at Mumbai. Jaipur Pink Panthers beat U Mumba by 35-24 to win the inaugural Pro Kabaddi League.
Star Sports Pro Kabaddi season 2 was from 18 July 2015 to 23 August 2015. There were 60 matches played with two semifinals, a third place play-off and a final. First game was played on July 18 between U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers and the final was played on August 23 at Mumbai between U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls. U Mumba beat Bengaluru Bulls by 36-30 to win the 2015 season of Pro Kabaddi League. U Mumba stood first, Bengaluru Bulls stood second and Telugu Titans stood on third position in the league.
Star Sports Pro Kabaddi season 3 will have two editions. The CEO of Star India, Sanjay Gupta, confirmed that Star Sports Pro Kabaddi wants to make Pro Kabaddi, a 5-week event, happen 10 weeks a year by having two editions a year. The idea is to play the tournament once in January–February 2016 and once in June–July 2016. It also had 8 teams. Patna Pirates beat U Mumba by 3 points in the final in Delhi to take home the trophy. Puneri Paltan came third this season.
The fourth season took place from June 25 to July 31, 2016, with the existing eight teams participating. Patna Pirates beat Jaipur Pink Panthers in the final. Season 4 also saw the launch of first professional women's kabaddi league, Women's Kabaddi Challenge (WKC). First season saw 3 teams namely Ice Divas, Fire Birds and Storm Queens battle it out to be the first ever WKC champions. In the final, scheduled along with the men's final in Hyderabad, the Storm Queens defeated the Fire Birds.
The 2017 season was the fifth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League, and it featured 12 teams, including new teams from Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Tamil Nadu, and Gujarat. The team from Haryana is known as Haryana Steelers owned by JSW Sports. Sachin Tendulkar co-owns the Tamil Nadu team named Tamil Thalaivas. The Uttar Pradesh team is named as UP Yoddha owned by GMR group and the Gujarat team is named as Gujarat Fortune Giants owned by Gautam Adani.
Auctions for the new season were held in May, before which the existing teams were allowed to retain one player each. The auction saw over 400 players go under the hammer and Rs 46.99 crores spent by the 12 teams.
The Pro Kabaddi League season 5 started on July 28, 2017.
The most expensive pick of the auction was raider Nitin Tomar, who was bought by the Uttar Pradesh team for a sum of Rs 93 lakh. Following in second place was Rohit Kumar after the Bengaluru Bulls picked him for a Rs 81 lakhs price. The most expensive foreign player was South Korea's Lee Jang-kun after he was retained by the Bengal Warriors for Rs 80.3 lakhs.
The new season was slated to be the biggest league tournament of its kind in the history of Indian sports in terms of geographical coverage and duration. It featured 138 matches spread across a time period of 13 weeks across 11 states.
A children's Kabaddi tournament, known as KBD Juniors, was also organised between schools of the cities in which the matches were held.
Patna Pirates beat Gujarat Fortune Giants by 55-38 in the final with the Man of the Tournament Pardeep Narwal stealing the show with 19 raid points against the Fortune Giants defense for the first time in the tournament.
The award ceremony of the finale was hosted by Pooja Bhamrah. Pardeep Narwal was adjudged the man of the finale.
The 2018 season is the sixth edition of the Pro Kabaddi League, and it features 12 teams. Auctions for the new season were held in which Haryana Steelers paid INR 1.51 crores for Monu Goyat who became the highest paid player in the history of Pro Kabaddi league.
Zone B toppers, Bengaluru Bulls beat the Zone A toppers, Gujarat Fortune Giants by 38-33 in the final with the Man of the Tournament Pawan Kumar Sehrawat stealing the show with a record 22 raid points against the young Fortune Giants defence. For a consecutive second time, Gujarat Fortune Giants have lost in the finals. The coach of Bengaluru Bulls, Randhir Singh was happy as his team finally won the tournament after underwhelming finishes in the previous couple of seasons. On the other hand, Manpreet Singh, the coach of the Gujarat Fortune Giants rued the opportunity to win the tournament after losing two successive finals.
The 2019 season is the seventh edition of the Pro Kabaddi League, and it features 12 teams. Auctions for the new season were held in Mumbai on April 8 and 9. The franchises splashed out over 50 crores to acquire 200 players. Siddharth Sirish Desai became the most expensive buy of the season after Telugu Titans got the winning bid of him at 1.45 crore. The most expensive foreign player of this season is Iranian Mohammad Esmail Nabibaksh who was bought by Bengal Warriors for ₹77.75 lakh. As termed by the organisers 'Most Toughest Season', the zonal system present in the previous season has been removed, and each team will play against all the other teams twice. Top 6 teams will qualify for the playoffs. The top two teams will automatically make the semi-finals while the remaining four will battle it out in eliminators. Dabang Delhi and Bengal Warriors emerged as the winners in the semi finals and qualified to the final for the first time. In the final, Bengal Warriors outplayed Dabang Delhi by a margin of 39-34 and clinched their maiden PKL title. The season witnessed several records. Pardeep Narwal became the first ever player to reach 1000 points in the Pro Kabaddi League.Naveen Kumar scored 21 consecutive Super 10s and overall 22. While Pawan Sehrawat registered most individual points in a match (39) against Haryana Steelers. In this season, for the first time three raiders crossed the 300-raid points mark. Among the defenders, Neeraj Kumar of Patna Pirates scored most tackle points (11) in a match and equalled the record of Mohit Chillar (11).
As per the available data of the opening two weeks, Star Sports Pro Kabaddi viewership on TV increased by nearly 56% from the 2014 year's viewership. During the inaugural season, viewership was 43.5 crore (435 million) viewers, which was the second in India after the 56 crore (560 million) of IPL viewership. The online viewership also increased 1.3 crore unique visitors, which is 18.5 times than of last year's 7 lakh unique visitors. The third season which was flagged off on 30 January, recorded a surge in viewership with the opening week ratings 36 percent higher than the week one viewership for its last season.
|Team||Owners||Captain||Head coach||Kit manufacturer||Kit sponsor|
|Bengal Warriors||Kishore Biyani||Spunk||Future Pay|
|Bengaluru Bulls||Badri Narayan Choudhary Kota, Ananda Giri||Vats||Ashirvad Pipes|
|Dabang Delhi KC||Radha Kapoor||Reforce||JK Super Cement|
|Gujarat Fortune Giants||Gautam Adani||Shiv-Naresh||Finolex Cables|
|Haryana Steelers||Parth Jindal||T10 Sports||APL Apollo|
|Jaipur Pink Panthers||Abhishek Bachchan||TYKA||Ambuja Cements|
|Patna Pirates||Rajesh V. Shah||Pace International||Birla Gold Cement|
|Puneri Paltan||Rajesh Harkishandas Doshi, Sumanlal Babulal Shah, Nallepilly Ramaswami Subramanian||Shiv-Naresh||Force Motors|
|Tamil Thalaivas||Nimmagadda Prasad, Sachin Tendulkar, Allu Arjun, Ram Charan, Allu Aravind||Kaizen||Celon Labs|
|Telugu Titans||Srinivas Sreeramaneni, Goutham Reddy Nedurmalli, Mahesh Kolli||Vats||Greenko|
|U Mumba||Ronnie Screwvala||Indigo Paints|
|UP Yoddha||Kiran Kumar Grandhi||T10 Sports||Tata Yodha|
Four teams, Jaipur Pink Panthers, U Mumba, Bengaluru Bulls and Bengal Warriors have won the tournament once, while Patna Pirates have won the Pro Kabaddi League thrice and the only champions to have defended their title twice. The current champions are Bengal Warriors.
|Season||Final||Final venue||No. of teams||Best raider (Most raid points)||Best defender (Most tackle points)||Best all-rounder (Most total points)|
|2014||Jaipur Pink Panthers||35-24
SD = 11
|U Mumba||National Sports Club of India, Mumbai||8||Anup Kumar||Manjeet Chhillar||Anup Kumar|
SD = 6
|Bengaluru Bulls||Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Indoor Stadium, Mumbai||8||Kashiling Adake||Ravinder Pahal||Kashiling Adake|
SD = 3
|U Mumba||Indira Gandhi Indoor Stadium, New Delhi||8||Pardeep Narwal||Manjeet Chhillar||Pardeep Narwal|
SD = 8
|Jaipur Pink Panthers||Gachibowli Indoor Stadium, Hyderabad||8||Rahul Chaudhari||Fazel Atrachali||Rahul Chaudhari|
SD = 17
|Gujarat Fortune Giants||Jawaharlal Nehru Indoor Stadium, Chennai||12||Pardeep Narwal||Surender Nada||Pardeep Narwal|
SD = 5
|Gujarat Fortune Giants||DOME@NSCI SVP STEDIUM, Mumbai||12||Pawan Sehrawat||Nitesh Kumar||Pawan Sehrawat|
|Dabang Delhi||The Arena Indoor Stadium, Ahmedabad||12||Pawan Sehrawat||Fazel Atrachali||Pawan Sehrawat|
Performance of all the teams in all seasons
|Jaipur Pink Panthers||126||54||61||11||42.85%||48.41%||8.73%|
|Gujarat Fortune Giants||71||41||23||7||57.74%||32.39%||9.85%|
|2013-16||Star Sports Pro Kabaddi|
|2017-19||Vivo Pro Kabaddi|
Total points (All seasons)
|3||Jaipur Pink Panthers||123||943|
- Most raid points (All seasons)
|3||Jaipur Pink Panthers||123||856|
- Most successful raids (All seasons)
|3||Jaipur Pink Panthers||123||698|
- Most tackle points (All seasons)
- Most successful tackles (All seasons)
Prize money for the winner of season 6 was ₹3 crore. The first and second runners-up were awarded ₹1.83 crore and ₹1.2 crore respectively. The consolidated prize money for season 7 is ₹8 crore. The champions of season 7 will bag ₹3 crore while the runners-up will receive ₹1.8 crore. The losing semifinalists will receive ₹90 lakh each and, the fifth and the sixth-placed teams will earn ₹45 lakh.
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