Vivo Pro Kabaddi has clearly established its position as the 2nd most popular and watched sports league in the country after IPL cutting across all age groups and demographics.
Season 8 resumed earlier this year with a bang after a one year hiatus due to the Covid-19 pandemic. According to INTELENSA – a leading independent sports, media & entertainment market intelligence, measurement and advisory practice: Vivo Pro Kabaddi has not only managed to retain and drive the interest levels of a vast majority of its core / repeat viewers (i.e. loyal fanbase developed over the years whose interest levels in the league continue to surge), but also attracted 29% new (first-time) viewers (over 1/3rd of them strongly believe that Vivo Pro Kabaddi is enjoyable even if one is not a Kabaddi Fan). Indicating strong traction and consumer (Fan) engagement potential for the league and the sport from a future perspective.
However, Vivo Pro Kabaddi is doing more than simply boosting the popularity of Kabaddi. It is establishing itself firmly in the popular mainstream sport, media & entertainment culture, as all key stakeholders be it brands, celebrities and end-consumers are embracing this 360 transformation of an old Indian rural sport into this modern, dynamic and glamorous avatar called the Vivo Pro Kabaddi.
Importantly, it is building a positive perception and the fundamentals required for developing a strong and sustainable economy around the sport.
According to INTELENSA, both men and women alike across all age groups strongly believe that ‘Vivo Pro Kabaddi has vastly improved the standards of Kabaddi in India (including financial status of Professional Kabaddi players) and created global exposure and profile for the sport’. Also, it is now perceived as being more ‘Entertaining’; ‘Exciting’ & ‘Family Oriented’ across the board. Interestingly, it’s ‘competitive and skilful nature’ along with ‘being an ideal platform for socializing with friends & family’ and ‘association with other popular celebrities’ have been some of the key drivers to attract more women to the league. Further validating strong traction and wider consumer (Fan) engagement / appeal for the league.
Additionally, Vivo Pro Kabaddi fans / viewers demonstrate higher affinity towards certain products & services categories in terms of their interest & purchase intent such as Smartphones, Automobiles, Digital Wallets, Ecommerce (Online Shopping & Food Delivery Apps) and Consumer Electronics to name a few. For brands looking to drive key imagery attributes such as 'Macho’; ‘Fun’; ‘World-Class’ & 'Trendy’ for instance, Vivo Pro Kabaddi (similar to the IPL) can potentially be a good fit to
leverage these associative values for desired positioning amongst its target audiences.
From a commercial perspective, Vivo Pro Kabaddi is a proven marketing platform raising the bar every year. In continuation of this upward trend, Season 8 delivered an average integrated cost: benefit (ROI) factor of 1:17 to its central league sponsors, which is considerably higher than the average Indian industry standard of 1:8. The captive and compact indoor environment of Vivo Pro Kabaddi provides an optimal stage for sponsors to garner consistent and high intensity visibility enabling strong viewer recall, resonance and impact.
Vivo Pro Kabaddi with its powerful integrated marketing communications platform (i.e. fusion of functionally customized on-air contextual match segments / brand integrations and on-ground consumer engagement assets architecture) provides an effective fit for brands from different categories and varying stages of evolution in their lifecycle. Having the ability to address objectives across the entire brand adoption funnel ranging from awareness building to creating advocacy. This clearly reflects in the performance of long standing partners who have been associated with the league for over 3+ years experiencing a much higher NPS score (advocacy levels) amongst the sponsorship aware sample group (see Exhibit-3 below). Confirming the industry adage that long term sponsorship associations derive greater value and impact compared to a short term activity.
Interestingly, even classical advertising spot buyers (category new entrants) such as WINZO, HOWZAT, MYFAB11 and Fan2Play recorded strong resonance level amongst Vivo Pro Kabaddi viewers (i.e. higher scores across brand metrics in the ad seen sample group when compared to the ad not-seen sample group) despite the presence of category leader and a dominant league sponsor DREAM11.
Vivo Pro Kabaddi’s versatility as a marketing platform and the spectrum of possibilities on offer creates exciting consumer engagement prospects. Already fuelling engagement from top brands and the new wave of multi-year commercial deals with both domestic and international companies keen on leveraging this opportunity is expected to continue. Further driving the value and marketability of the league and its prized commercial assets.