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Franchise sports leagues stand tall in Indian ecosystem

The field of sports is regarded as one of the world's largest sectors in terms of employment and revenue generation.

More than a couple of decades ago, the popularity of sports in India was only limited to cricket. Previously, it was also hockey for generation X because the country performed well in that sport. Sports wasn’t commercially lucrative back in the day which could have helped the players and people involved behind the scenes to make a living out of it.

If you look at the current scenario, the field of sports is regarded as one of the world’s largest sectors in terms of employment and revenue generation, and India adopted this policy and prevailed due to the massive population interested in sports. The creation of newer leagues and successful franchise tournaments has definitely improved India’s sports system. The franchise competitions listed below have etched a robust commercial sports structure in India:

Indian Premier League (IPL)

The IPL is without any doubt the pioneer of franchise tournaments in the country, debuting in 2008. There has only been an increase in the number of fans over the years. Not only in India, but all over the world, IPL has a global fan base. The Indian marquee cricket league ranks high on the list of the most profitable leagues in the world. It is surpassing the world’s biggest leagues, such as the Premier League (PL) and National Football League (NFL), in terms of financial standings. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently sold media rights for the upcoming cycle of 2023-2027 for a whopping INR 48,390 crore.

Indian Super League (ISL)

Only six years after the IPL, the franchise football tournament was launched. Football is likely to top the list when it comes to being the most lucrative sports, considering the money involved in European leagues, and to get to that level, India needed a massive boost in their system, which was eventually procured by All India Football Federation (AIFF) and Reliance Industries Limited (RIL)’s Indian Super League (ISL). Today, the same company that owns Manchester City (City Football Group) also owns Mumbai City, this is because the rest of the world sees India as a potentially booming market for the Beautiful Game. Not to mention the gate revenue generated by AIFF and teams such as Kerala Blasters FC and ATK Mohun Bagan during their home games. Ahead of ISL 2021/22, the football competition saw massive foreign associations.

Pro Kabaddi League (PKL)

Pro Kabaddi League was a significant boost to an Indian indigenous sport. The franchise kabaddi tournament debuted in 2014, with eight teams paying fees of up to US$250,000 to participate. The tournament was a huge success in India, and its tagline, ‘Le Panga,’ became popular among every sports fan. The first season drew 43.5 crore (435 million) viewers, trailing only the 2014 IPL’s 55.2 crore (552 million). The first season final between Jaipur Pink Panthers and U Mumba also drew massive 8.64 crore (86.4 million) views.

The Pro Kabaddi League’s broadcaster, Star Sports, later announced in 2015 that it would obtain a 74% stake in the league’s parent company, Mashal Sports. The tournament was missed by fans during a two-year hiatus due to covid, but it returned in 2021 to entertain its fans once more.

Prime Volleyball League (PVL)

In 2022, a franchise volleyball league, Prime Volleyball League was launched with the goal of developing and locating talented volleyball players across the country. The tournament was a huge success thanks to the broadcast partner, Sony Sports Network, who promoted the tournament brilliantly. The tournament and its teams received a lot of sponsorship, which is why it was successful in its first season. The wave of franchise-based sports leagues also reached the sport of Volleyball, which isn’t much popular in the country.

Ultimate Kho Kho (UKK)

The newly introduced franchise league, UKK, is a significant step in Kho Kho’s history. The first tournament will take place later this year and will be aired live on Sony Sports Network. Badshah recently acquired the Mumbai-based team in the league. Odisha Government was among the first to acquire franchises in the league, along with Adani Group, GMR Group, Capri Global, and KLO Sports. Yet another indigenous sport is about to become popular and economically beneficial for the players and people involved because of the booming franchise competitions.

Deserving players get the opportunity to play on the biggest stage, and small businesses also receive the opportunity to sponsor teams from various leagues.

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