Pro Kabaddi 2019 provided unparalleled entertainment across the nation and ended up becoming the most successful season in the competition ever. High octane action, pulsating fixtures with players going toe-to-toe was exactly the spectacle fans signed up for and the seventh instalment delivered just what the doctor ordered.

Witnessing Pro Kabaddi’s ascent over the years, one could only wonder about the things that worked for putting a sport like Kabaddi on the spot and making it a household name. A clear marketing strategy targeting a wide spectrum of audience and building the brand name was magnificently accomplished this season, leading to an overwhelming response. 

A change in scenery

The wit of experience and age was significantly replaced by the power of youth in the recently concluded season. Veteran players like Dharmaraj Cheralathan and Manjeet Chillar bore the brunt of the pace of young raiders such as Naveen Kumar, Pawan Kumar Sehrawat and Pardeep Narwal. Manjeet’s record dipped significantly from season six as he managed to garner just 37 tackle points this season as compared to 59 tackle points in the previous campaign. 

Dharmaraj is the oldest player in the league and faced a lot of heat despite his best efforts on the mat. Even so, the ‘Poster Boy’ Rahul Chaudhari lost his fizz on the mat and could only ensure 138 points this time around, his worst since season four. The focus has completely shifted from the ageing and less agile players to the robust strengths of Naveen and Pawan. This season entirely belonged to the exploits of these two youngsters who displayed immaculate courage and responsibility on the mat.  

Also Read: Pro Kabaddi: No sport for old men?

A fleet of records

“This season has been the toughest in Pro Kabaddi history because all the 12 teams are very good.” This statement made by the Jaipur Pink Panthers’ coach Srinivas Reddy before the Playoffs holds true in the light of sublime and record-breaking performances that were witnessed.

Season seven’s ‘Most Valuable Player’ (MVP) Naveen Kumar, playing in his second season for Dabang Delhi, etched his name in history books as he racked up a record 22 Super 10’s surpassing Pardeep’s record of 19 Super 10’s from season five. In doing so, he also set the stage on fire with a resounding tally of 21 consecutive Super 10’s. Let that sink in!

Pardeep had to witness another record being taken away when Pawan Sehrawat of Bengaluru Bulls decided to have a field day. He struck 39 points in a single game and ended up being the only raider from his team to score all their raid points. Talk about making a statement!

The season was also blessed with three raiders – Pawan, Pardeep and Naveen breaching the 300-raid point mark for the very first time in the competition’s history. To top that off, we had two first-time finalists and a new champion in the form of Bengal Warriors to end the season on a high.

Views don’t lie

The Broadcast Audience Research Council’s (BARC), that analyses the viewership of sports leagues and other television programmes in the country, reported that till week seven of Pro Kabaddi 2019, the viewership increased by a margin of 26% in the urban market. Even the OTT platform like Hotstar reported a million views for the final between Bengal Warriors and Dabang Delhi. This clearly depicts that the mood of the country is favourable and changing for the betterment of the sport. Let’s hope the next campaign is even bigger and attracts those who are yet not captivated by the beauty of this sport.  

Feature image courtesy: Star Sports & Pro Kabaddi