The seventh season of Vivo Pro Kabaddi was full of nail-biting finishes and a new team lifting the trophy for the first time – Bengal Warriors. While Bengal Warriors were crowned the champions, all the twelve teams showcased some of the toughest matches on the mat and broke numerous records. From Naveen Kumar’s 21 consecutive Super 10’s to Pardeep Narwal crossing the 1000 points mark; every match brought something exciting for its viewers. Star Sports, the official broadcaster for Vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 left no stone unturned for its fans; from the ‘All-Star’ where India 7 took on World 7, to providing fans with Kabaddi action in seven languages – Vivo Pro Kabaddi 7 was a success story.
The Future of Kabaddi
Since its inception in 2017, the Future Kabaddi Heroes program has served as a platform for youngsters across the nation to showcase their kabaddi talent and earn an opportunity to be drafted into the players’ auction pool for the Vivo Pro Kabaddi league. The FKH program took place across 12 cities with 2991 participants in its third season. 28 players who proved their mettle and battled to play amongst the best in the country after rigorous training and camp of two months were included in the auction for the seventh season of Vivo PKL. The Players have access to an elite training team that includes professional coaches, physiotherapists, and nutritionists who guide, support and monitor these young prodigies throughout the duration of the camp. Some of the notable talents from this brigade of players include – Naveen Kumar, Nitesh Kumar, and Surinder Singh.
Players going under the hammer
The Vivo Pro Kabaddi 7 auctions ended on a high note with Siddharth Desai and Nitin Tomar being the costliest buys at INR 1.45 Crore and INR 1.20 Crore respectively. There was an increase in the number of international players joining the league with more than 20 international players being bought at the Season 7 auction. Among the foreign players, Mohammad Esmaeil Nabibakhsh was the highest-paid player at INR 77.75 Lakhs who then led his team, Bengal Warriors, to their maiden title.
Vivo PKL was back to its original calendar
Season 7 of Vivo PKL returned to the original PKL calendar of July-October, with an early start time of 7.30 PM. The double round-robin with a clear focus on achieving an equitable league table made season 7 of the league even more exciting. This change in format led to a renewed interest among fans which kept all 12 teams in the running till the end. The curiosity and interest-driven through this format change led to an increase in viewership, and the change in timing led to a larger footfall across all 12 cities. A staggering 328 mn viewers tuned in to watch the Vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 over the course of three months keeping its place as the second most-watched sport after Cricket.
#IsseToughKuchNahi – Kabaddi the Toughest Sport
Depicting Kabaddi as a tough sport, the #IsseToughKuchNahi campaign conceptualized by Star Sports, highlighted key aspects that players build over the course of the season which include strength, agility and absolute brute power. The first TVC in the series starring Telugu Titans ace defender Vishal Bharadwaj was launched during the most anticipated clash between India and England at the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 across TV and digital mediums. The other films that followed, featured kabaddi heroes such as ‘The Showman’ Rahul Chaudhari and Siddharth Desai.
The Record-Breakers of the season
Vivo Pro Kabaddi 7 proved to be the toughest yet with competition among the teams fiercer than ever and table toppers changing at regular intervals. While many players took up the challenge and shone through, there were some who not only captured the imagination of fans but also had the numbers to show for their achievements.
- Naveen Kumar, the young prodigy from Dabang Delhi K.C. and Vivo PKL 7 MVP not only broke the record for most Super 10s in a single season (22) but also now holds the record for the most successive Super 10s in a season (21).
- Pardeep ‘the Record Breaker’ Narwal managed to cross the 300-raid point mark in a season for the second time in his Vivo Pro Kabaddi career and also equaled his Season 5 feat of 34 raid points in a single match this season. Pardeep’s unmatched ability to score big was also seen in his 15 Super Raids, the most by a raider in the entire season. Additionally, he also became the first player in history to cross the 1000 points mark.
- Pawan Sehrawat once again enjoyed an extraordinary season where he scored 346 raid points and emerged as the leading raid point scorer of the season. The ‘Hi-Flyer’ also set the record for the most raid points in a single match by scoring 39 against Haryana Steelers
- The ‘Sultan’- Fazel Atrachali was the season’s most successful defender for the second time in vivo Pro Kabaddi history, equaling veteran defender Manjeet Chhillar’s feat. Scoring 82 tackle points from 24 matches, Fazel dominated opposition raiders, with his herculean tackles and ability to manage the defensive setup effectively.
A whooping 328 mn* viewers watched Vivo Pro Kabaddi League Season 7
The overall rating for Season 7 grew by a whopping 26% with TVR growing from 0.67 to 0.85 in the M15+ABUrban category while the 2+ U+R level rating showed a 6% growth over last year from 1.06 to 1.13. Hotstar viewership soared to 1 million viewers during the final game between Bengal Warriors and Dabang Delhi.