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Kabaddi rising

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I like to believe that I am good at spotting trends and identifying oppurtunities. One obvious area for viable business oppurtunities in India is sport. Of course Cricket was and continues to be best option for sport as business, but the fact that it is an obvious contender makes it a high investment low return option and as in the case of some of the IPL franchisees a loss making business. 

I have wondered about other sports, particularly so football. A game I love playing and has all the ingredients for growth in India. It is an internationally popular sport which is widely followed but not played in India. Unfortunately it is also an obvious candidate and has quite predictably attracted many a fool’s money. Any genuine and successful attempt would immediately be hijacked by some large corporate with deep pockets. 

I have to admit that the classic entrepreneurial model of innovation turning into a viable, scalable business model simply eluded me as far as sport in India was concerned. This is where Pro-Kabaddi seems to have scored. 

In hindsight I wonder how something as obvious as this slipped me. Kabaddi has everything going for it. It is extremely popular in rural india, its an action packed sport requiring minimal equipment and has all the elements of speed, strength, cunning, tactic, skill and strategy to it. Its a contact sport with non stop action during its period of play. Its also has something going for it that few other sport do. Raiding is all about individual skill while pinning the raider is essentially a team activity, thus making it a sport with distinct emphasis on individual talent and team work. 

Of course essential raw material alone do not make a great product and that is where Pro Kabaddi with its product design, positioning and slick marketing comes in. What it has done is to take up a sport that is rural in character and dressed it up to appeal to an urban audience, thereby covering both segments of the market. The investments made on the stadium and telecasting equipment is quite obvious through the quality of the telecast. With its non stop action, quick scoring, and extreme physical nature it resembles American “made for television” games In character and style. In fact, you can be forgiven if you were to mistake the telecast for some NBA game during the interludes. Pitted against it, T20 cricket looks as exciting as a Katha Kaalepshagam by the neighourhood Bhagavathar. Ten minutes into the telecast and am sure any sport aficionado will be hooked to the game.

My bet is that Pro Kabaddi is going to be a winner all the way, and at a measly 2 crore per year license fee for a franchisee, its going to be the biggest rags to riches story of Indian sport. 
 

Written by El Presidente

August 8, 2014 at 11:52 am