Sports management company Mashal Sports has issued a tender to auction Pro Kabaddi League media rights for five seasons to be held during 2021-2025.

Founded by Anand Mahindra and Charu Sharma, Mashal Sports is 74% owned by Star India, which has been the current broadcast rights holder ever since the inception of the league in 2014.

The reason behind auctioning the media rights is understood to be a conflict of interest and increased pressure from the team franchises for a better pay structure from the broadcaster. 

The e-auction process is slated to be held on April 6. The PKL media invitation to tender will be issued on Thursday as interested parties can bid for four packages— Television, digital, gaming and consolidated (a combination of all three), the company said.

PKL commissioner and Mashal Sports CEO Anupam Goswami said, “We are also encouraging bidder consortiums to go for the package deal, under which they will be allowed to sublicense gaming rights. We will offer flexibility to bidders to work with PKL in accordance with their appetite." 

The eighth season, which was postponed last year due to a global pandemic, is expected to be held in June.

“We are going to the market in consensus with PKL franchises and we will ensure real-time transparency among all bidders. Star India has been a responsible majority owner of the league and that continues. The network has built PKL into a modern spectacle on TV and other screens and we wish to maintain a similar relationship with our incoming media partners," Goswami added.

Pro Kabaddi League has witnessed tremendous growth over the past few seasons, with season 7 recording the highest viewership ever.

“Season 7 incidentally has the highest viewership and these are strong indices for the consumption of PKL. They compare favourably with most other sports leagues in India. Given the business of leagues is still nascent, we are pretty confident of ourselves," Goswami said.

“I don’t think the auction will be hotly contested. However, it is a good opportunity for those looking to enter the sports league market and tap into the kabaddi fan base at a relatively small-scale investment," said Dinesh Rathore, CEO of media agency Madison Media Omega.

Feature image courtesy: Pro Kabaddi 2021.