Tag Archives: Star Sports

Vivo Pro Kabaddi League schedule for first half announced

Mashal Sports, organisers of vivo Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), on Wednesday announced the schedule of the first half for season 8 that will begin from December 22 in Bengaluru.

The entire season will be conducted at the Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre without spectators.

As a special format for PKL Season 8, Mashal has scheduled ‘Triple Headers’ on the first 4 days to ensure that kabaddi fans across the country get to watch each of their favourite teams play in the very initial days of the League.

PKL Season 8 will begin with U Mumba facing Bengaluru Bulls in the tournament opener. The League’s ‘Southern Derby’ will then take centre-stage as Telugu Titans lock horns with Tamil Thalaivas in the second match and UP Yoddha squaring off with the defending champions Bengal Warriors in the last match of the opening day.

Guaranteeing blockbuster matches and edge of the seat action with hero players back on the mat, this season will feature ‘Triple Panga’ driven by Triple Headers on all Saturdays through the course of the tournament ensuring that kabaddi afficionados have their fill of ‘Thigh-Five’ entertainment.

The new format will raise the excitement for the season’s weekends and keep fans hooked onto the action, even as the contending teams focus on first-part schedule to establish a vantage position vis-à-vis their competitors. The release of the season’s second-part schedule by mid-January is also expected to help PKL Teams assess and rebuild their competition strategies for the second half of the tournament.

Speaking about the schedule being released into two phases, Anupam Goswami, CEO, Mashal Sports and League Commissioner, vivo Pro Kabaddi League said: “The vivo Pro Kabaddi League is known for reinvigorating and popularizing India’s own sport of kabaddi, and with the new format, we aim to continue reinventing the sport. Releasing the schedule in two halves will help teams strategize better and keep the fans engaged.”

“The triple headers and “Triple Panga” will provide more fans more opportunities to watch their favourite players and teams in action as they battle it out for the coveted title,” he added.

Keeping the health and safety of players in mind, Mashal Sports will be undertaking the task of converting the entire venue at Sheraton Grand Bengaluru Whitefield Hotel & Convention Centre into a single integrated and secure bio-bubble.

With this unique setup, all 12 teams will be staying and playing at the same venue as Mashal Sports is focusing on following and adhering to the safety protocols set by the authorities.

An official statement from the organisers further said that the entire season will be held in a secure bio-bubble with strict guidelines in place.

“Government-mandated Covid-19 protection guidelines will also be followed and specialised agencies have been employed for safety and maintaining the necessary hygiene throughout the duration of the league. A biosecure bubble will be maintained throughout the season and strict testing will be carried out to ensure the highest level of safety.” the statement said.

The upcoming eighth season will be broadcast live on on the Star Sports network and Disney+ Hotstar.

Star Sports launches new campaign ahead of Hero ISL 2021-22

For over eight years, the Hero Indian Super League (ISL) has significantly altered the football landscape in the country – from nurturing and showcasing young players, creating a wide talent pool, attracting attention of some of the biggest stars and clubs in the world to creating a dedicated fan base, the league has emphatically evolved every season.

The premier football league in the country has also established the inherent growth of Indian football stars and made them household names.

As the new season of the Hero ISL 2021-22 dawns over the horizon, Star Sports network, the official broadcaster of the tournament, celebrates the true passion of fans coming together to support their teams, cities, and favorite stars in the league through its campaign- ‘Yeh India Ka Football Hai’.

The campaign film creatively articulates the highlights of the storied league – key rivalries in the league, the fandom that players have gained throughout the country, and the voracious fanfare across teams– a true indication and celebration of Indian football throughout the country making it ‘India ka Football’.

Speaking about the NEW Hero ISL 2021-22 campaign, a Star Sports Spokesperson said: “Every Indian football fan looks forward to the power-packed live action of Hero ISL.”

“We are thrilled to bring the football fans together to celebrate ‘India ka Football’ with another edition of the Hero ISL which will lay emphasis on an enhanced viewing experience, improved storytelling, product innovations, and stronger fan engagement,” he added.

The upcoming season of the soccer league will return to the sandy shores of Goa once again this time as the previous season was also held in Goa alone due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Last season’s finalists ATK Mohun Bagan will lock horns with Kerala Blasters in the tournament opener.

SC East Bengal will get their campaign underway against Jamshedpur FC on 21st November, while defending champions Mumbai City FC will renew their highly anticipated rivalry against FC Goa on 22nd November in a blockbuster clash.

The first installment of the high-octane derby SC East Bengal vs ATK Mohun Bagan will be held in the second round of the season on November 27.

Significantly, the ISL is the highest level league in Indian football system which is organised by All India Football Federation (AIFF) and their commercial partners Football Sports Development Limited (FSDL).

The league currently comprises 11 clubs.

During the league stage of the competition, each club plays against all the other clubs in a round-robin style. At the end of the league stage, the team with the most points gets declared the Premiers and presented with a trophy named League Winners Shield, and the top four clubs qualify for the play-offs.

The season then culminates with the ISL Final to determine the Champions who are presented with the ISL Trophy.

T20 World Cup: Will India’s early exit hit ad revenue of official broadcaster???

The Virat Kohli-led Team India’s dismal show in the ongoing T20 World Cup has undoubtedly disappointed the Indian fans around the globe.

With the Men in Blue’s early exit from the showpiece event, one question will be surely in everyone’s mind that whether the development have any impact on the ad revenue of the Star India, the official broadcaster of the showpiece event?

As it has been the case a few times before that in such a scenario, whenever India had made an early exit from the ICC events or even any tri-series, not only the fans but also the broadcaster had felt the financial jolts.

Going back to 2007, when India had made a shocking exit from the 50-over World Cup in the West Indies, the commercial revenues for the broadcaster had witnessed a significant drop.

Many companies which had booked slots and were already prepared with their respective campaigns, either demanded return of funds or discount or redrafting of the then agreements.

Notably in the 2007 World Cup, two of the tournament favourites — India and Pakistan — had both made an early exit. At that time, as many as 31 games were still left to be played in the showpiece event and with the two teams packing their bags in advance, the viewership also took a hit which finally resulted in drop of ad revenue of the official broadcaster.

Now coming to the present time, even after India’s early exit from the ongoing T20 World Cup, there aren’t many games left in the tournament.

Although the viewership in India is undobtedly expected to drop for the remainder of the tournament, industry sources said that Star India wouldn’t suffer loss of advertising revenue.

The reason why it wouldn’t impact Star financially is that the ad inventory for the tournament has been already sold out irrespective of whether India is playing the semi-finals/finals or not.

However, India’s early exits could prove fatal for advertisers because with viewership now set to drop, the advertisers will surely crib.

Meanwhile issuing a statement, Star has said that the high-octane clash between arch-rivals India and Pakistan created history by clocking a record reach of 167 million viewers, making it the most viewed T20I match till date.

“The India-Pakistan match has created history by clocking a record reach of 167 million viewers, making it the most viewed T20I match till date. We have continually strived to grow the audience base for marquee Cricket and this record is a testament to our efforts across high-decibel campaigns, enhanced storytelling, dedicated regional programming, and consumer innovations,” said a Star India spokesperson in a statement,

“There’s no doubt that the result of the match and India’s exit from the tournament disappointed fans but the record viewership displays the unique power of Cricket to engage audiences at an unprecedented scale,” he added.

As per the broadcaster’s statement, the India-Pakistan match surpassed the previous peak, which was the 2016 ICC World T20 semi-finals between India and West Indies, which had a reach of 136 million and an AMA (average minute audiences in ‘000) of 60.

Overall, India’s early exit from the ongoing event won’t hamper the official broadcaster financially however, it could not be denied that the Men in Blue’s campaign in any ICC event makes a massive impact.

T20 World Cup 2021 contest between India & Pakistan becomes most viewed T20I match

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, one of the most awaited tournaments of the year, has delivered exceptional viewership on Star India network, the official broadcaster of the event, registering a cumulative reach of 238* million till last week (qualifiers + first 12 games of Super 12 stage).

From edge-of-the-seat thrillers, exciting clashes to surprise packages, the opening stage, dominated by the high-octane India-Pakistan encounter, had its fair share of twists and turns, keeping viewers and fans hooked onto the action. The overall consumption reached an astounding 47 billion minutes (qualifiers + first 12 games of Super 12 stage).

With a reach of 167 million*, the highly-anticipated India-Pakistan clash on October 24, an event that saw the arch-rivals meet at an ICC tournament after two years, is now the most viewed T20I match, exceeding the previous high–India-West Indies 2016 ICC World T20 semi-finals.

Commenting on the development, a Star India spokesperson said: “The India-Pakistan match has created history by clocking a record reach of 167 million viewers, making it the most viewed T20I match till date. We have continually strived to grow the audience base for marquee Cricket and this record is a testament to our efforts across high-decibel campaigns, enhanced storytelling, dedicated regional programming, and consumer innovations.”

“There’s no doubt that the result of the match and India’s exit from the tournament disappointed fans but the record viewership displays the unique power of Cricket to engage audiences at an unprecedented scale,” he added.

The match surpassed the previous peak, which was the 2016 ICC World T20 semi-finals between India and West Indies, which had a reach of 136 million and an AMA (average minute audiences in ‘000) of 60.

The ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 began with the ‘Live the Game’ campaign anthem, created by Star Sports in association with ICC. Highlighting cricket as a sport that transcends boundaries, with fans across the globe, the campaign captured the attention and infused joy, and togetherness with the fiercest competition.

Captivating and building on the hype of the marquee tournament, the broadcaster announced a complete revamp of design and technology and the debut of industry-first broadcast innovations ahead of the Super 12 stage.

Significantly, India had lost the high octane clash against the Babar Azam-led Pakistan side by 10 wickets.

It was for the first time in the history of ICC World Cups when Pakistan had registered a win against arch-rivals India.

Asked to bat first, India rode skipper Virat Kohli’s 57 followed by stumper Rishabh Pant’s valuable 39 to put a respectable 151/7 in the allotted 20 overs before Pakistan overhauled the target with ease.

Chasing a moderate 152-run target, Babar’s unbeaten 68 along with Mohammad Rizwan’s unbeaten 79 helped Pakistan cross the line in 17.5 overs as the Indian bowlers struggled for wickets.

BCCI expected to earn between Rs 5,000-7,000 crore from sale of two new IPL franchises

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the country’s apex cricketing body, is expected to get richer by Rs 5,000-7,000 crore after the two new franchises of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) go under the hammer on Monday in Dubai.

According to reports, the Indian cricket board is not only expected to earn an additional amount of Rs 5,000-7,000 crore by the sale of the two new franchises but will also receive an additional amount of over Rs 450 crore from its share of broadcasting and sponsorship revenues in 2022 as the number of matches in the cash-rich league will rise to 74 next year from the present 60 matches.

The rise in number of matches will be because the number of teams will also go upto to 10 from the current eight.

And as the number of games will rise, Disney+Hotstar will have to pay Rs 54.5 core per match for the live streaming of the matches.

However, the major earning for both the BCCI as well as the new and old franchises will be witnessed from 2023 when the IPL’s television and digital rights will be up for grabs again for a period of another five years.

Earlier, Star had acquired the league’s television and digital rights for the period between 2018-2022 at a sum of Rs 16,348 crore and as per the deal, the broadcaster was supposed to pay around Rs 54.5 crore per game in the 60-match season.

With the current cycle about to get over, the auctions for the next cycle is expected soon and is most likley to witness participation from top companies globally as with more teams and more matches, the earning will also shoot up.

According to industry experts, the winning bid price is expected to double from Rs 16,348 crore to Rs 32,694 crore for the next cycle. And if it happens, the revenue share only from the broadcasting and digital rights for each of the 10 franchisees will see a massive jump to Rs 326.9 crore from the present Rs 201.6 crore, a rise of around 60 percent each year.

Meanwhile, several broadcasters have already joined the race for the media auction as apart from Disney+Hotstar, the current media rights holder, Sony, Reliance Industries, Amazon Prime and some other global players are looking to join the IPL bandwagon.

Reports also suggest that Reliance Industries is planning to announce a sports channel soon in Viacom 18 keeping in mind of the IPL.

Notably, the central revenues of the Indian cricket board, which includes the broadcasting and digital rights as well as sponsorships, is shared between the BCCI and the franchises. While half of the amount goes to the BCCI, the remaining amount is shared equally between the franchisees.

Moreover, the companies which emerge out as successful bidders of the two new franchises will not have to pay the entire bid amount at a time. The winning bidders will hand only 20 per cent of their revenue (which, apart from a share of central revenues, also includes income from team sponsorship like branding on the team jersey, selling team branded products and so on) to the board each year. They will have to pay it until the total amount is completed.

Earlier, the BCCI had kept Rs 2,000 crore as the base price for each franchise and had asked that any company or individual bidding for it will be required to have a minimum net worth of Rs 3,000 crore.

So far, the Adanis, the Glazer family, which owns the famous soccer club Manchester United, Torrent and Aurobindo Pharma, RP-Sanjiv Goenka group, Hindustan Times Media, Jindal Steel and Ronnie Screwvala of Unilazer Ventures have buyed the Invitation to Tender (ITT) documents from the BCCI.

On October 20, the deadline for the sale of ITT, the Rs 10 lakh document, ended and as per reports, as many as 20 parties have bought the ITT document.

However, those in the know say that the financial benefit for franchisees in 2022 is limited as they have to share the central revenues, now it would be divided amongst 10 instead of eight teams.

Significantly, six Indian cities, namely – Ahmedabad (Narendra Modi Stadium), Cuttack (Barabati Stadium), Dharamsala (Himachal Pradesh Cricket Association Stadium), Guwahati (Barsapara Cricket Ground), Indore (Holkar Stadium), Lucknow (Atal Bihari Vajpayee Ekana Cricket Stadium) have been shortlisted for the auction.

As per reports, Ahmedabad and Lucknow are the frontrunners for hosting the two new IPL teams.

2007 WC winning star share views on upcoming Ind-Pak clash

The evening of October 24 will see the Dubai International Stadium house one of the most historic and mouth-watering clashes in cricketing history as the Virat Kohli-led Team India will lock horns with arch-nemesis Pakistan in the Super 12 stage of the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 on Sunday.

After almost a two-year hiatus, Virat Kohli and Co. face-off against Babar Azam-led Pakistan in this highly anticipated encounter which will also be the Indian skipper’s swansong with the captaincy tag. Pakistan is yet to get a one-up over their rivals in World Cups as the head-to-head has been heavily dominated by the Men in Blue.

However, both teams have entered the tournament with a fresh perspective, filled to the brim with enormous young talent and the hunger and eagerness to prove themselves on the biggest stage of them all.

Virat will be eyeing a huge victory over their rivals to establish their foothold, which will also set the precedent and momentum in the marquee tournament. The mentorship of MS Dhoni will help in resonating a positive mindset and confidence amongst the Indian team.

Exceptional performances topped by victories in the two warm-up games against England and Australia have been massive boosts for young talents like Ishan Kishan, Suryakumar Yadav, Rishabh Pant and Rahul Chahar, who have showcased their talent and skill ahead of the opener. The opening pair of KL Rahul and ‘Hitman’ Rohit Sharma have shown their prowess and never cease to impress.

Jasprith Bumrah’s magic with the white ball will be looking to shut down the dangerous early efforts of Babar Azam with the bat.

Speaking exclusively on Star Sports show ‘Class of 2007’, former Team India all-rounder Irfan Pathan spoke about Virat Kohli’s men in the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021.

“I think nobody expected anything from the 2007 team, but there are a lot of expectations from the current World Cup squad. The new team has expectations and experience. When we entered the 2007 T20 World Cup, we hardly had the experience of playing in T20 format. But now, things are different, people play IPL, they play a lot of T20 games and there are a lot of conversations around T20 format,” Pathan expressed.

“In 2007, there was no social media, but now there is social media, so there are lot of conversations around performances and memes. I think the boys know that there are lot of expectations from them and they know how to handle it,” he added.

Speaking exclusively on Star Sports show ‘Class of 2007’, veteran Team India wicketkeeper batsman Dinesh Karthik spoke about the Indian squad for the upcoming ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, “I completely agree with what Irfan said. It’s completely different in terms of handling pressure, but one thing is very different today to what it was in 2007 is the fact that they have plenty of IPL experience and they have played in high pressure games and they have played in matches which are – when it comes to pressure, it’s second to none.”

Meanwhile, Gautam Gambhir, Harbhajan Singh, Dinesh Karthik, RP Singh, Ajit Agarkar aslo shared their thoughts on who will be Team India’s X factor in the upcoming T20 World Cup.

Gautam Gambhir: “Jasprit Bumrah!”

Harbhajan Singh: “I think if I have to choose one, I will Rohit Sharma. I think he’s going to be the key!”

Dinesh Karthik: “I will put my money on Hardik Pandya and Varun Chakravarthy. I think these two can make the difference in T20 World Cup.”

Ajit Agarkar: “Rohit Sharma & Jasprit Bumrah. I think Rohit could be the key, opening the innings and Bumrah with what he does.”

RP Singh: “Jasprit Bumrah!”

Irfan Pathan: “I think Jasprit Bumrah and his opposite end. I think the two bowlers who will bowl in the last overs are crucial.”

Record-breaker and captain of the Pakistan team, Babar Azam is the perfect example of ‘letting the bat do the talking’. His 50 off 41 balls against the West Indies in the warm-up game is a warning sign for India because once the 27-year-old gets going with the bat, he transforms into a beast, who is very difficult to contain.

Shoaib Malik and Mohammad Hafeez bring a comforting amount of experience to the Pakistani side, their previous meetings with India in past world cups will be a definite advantage for the team. Shaheen Afridi, a 21-year-old prospect proven in the Pakistan Super League, has dished out top performances in both warm-up games by picking up a total of 4 wickets. Hasan Ali looks to be the standout pacer for the Men in Green.

The lanky pacer excels at a slower wicket in the UAE, his variations and lengths will be a tough task for the Indian batters to manage against.

TV Ad volume of IPL 2021 registers rise of six percent

The 14th edition of the cash-rich Indian Premier League (IPL) concluded on October 15 which saw the MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings (CSK) winning its fouth title after defeating two-time champions Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) by 27 runs in the summit clash in Dubai.

Although the viewership data for the second phase of the tournament is yet to be released, it has been learnt that the ad volume numbers has performed well for the broadcaster.

As per the TAM Sports-IPL 14 Advertising Report based on IPL 13 and IPL 14, the advertising volumes on TV in the 51 matches of the just concluded season grew by six percent compared to the last season, which was completely staged out in the UAE.

Meanwhile, reports suggest that although the tally of advertisers grew by 10%, the numbers of brands registered a decline by 2% in IPL 14 when compared to the last season.

As per reports, IPL 13 and 14 witnessed similar categories coming on board.

While the 2021 season witnessed more than 120 advertisers as compared with 110 in the 2020 season but on the other hand, the league saw over 225 brands this year, which are slightly less as compared to the last season.

Reports further said that while ecom-education was at the top category in IPL 14, smart phones topped the list during IPL 2020.

Significantly during 51 matches of the just concluded season, the top five categories collectively contributed more than 36% of overall ad volumes.

Dream11.com and Phonepe were among the top five brands and both were common in the IPL 14 and IPL 13 season.

While Dream 11 recorded the highest share of 6% of the total advertising volume, which was one percent more compared to previous season, PhonePe share declined by a percent.

The report also stated that more than 30 new categories appeared during 51 matches of IPL 14 season, compared to the last one. In th list of new categories, Securities/Sharebroking Organization topped the list.

It is expected that the figures will register further increase as two more teams will be added, which will increase the number of matches and all the other opportunities as well.

In September, Star India network had said that it was on track to breach the 400 million viewers’ mark on TV, for the fourth year in a row.

The marquee tournament had till then garnered 380 million viewers until match #35, 12* million higher than IPL 2020 at the same stage. The TV viewer aggregation is in fact higher than the last three editions of the tournament, since 2018.

“We are proud to have delivered IPL to over 380 million viewers for the fourth time in a row. The last two occasions have been special as we navigated unprecedented circumstances and overcame challenges in bringing IPL to fans in the comfort of their homes. The business end of the IPL always generates a great deal of anticipation among fans that we captured in our campaign, #AsliPictureAbhiBaakiHai,” a Star Sports Spokesperson had said.

The success of VIVO IPL can be attributed to Star India’s strategy of regionalisation and customer segmentation, whereby the tournament is presented in 8 different languages to cater to viewers in different states & regions and two additional customised match-feeds to cater to specific consumer segments (Select Dugout which reaches out to core cricket fans and cricket aficionados presented by some of the top T20 experts or the newly introduced Hotstar Dosts feed on Disney+ Hotstar which is a light-hearted take on the match presented by a combination of stand-up comics and guest commentators).

Star Sports brings back iconic ‘Mauka Mauka’ campaign ahead of India-Pakistan clash

Ahead of the high-octane and eagerly anticipated India-Pakistan clash in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021 on October 24, Star Sports, the official broadcaster of the marquee tournament, has once again recreated the iconic ‘Mauka Mauka’ campaign with an interesting twist.

Part of cricketing folklore, the promo, first introduced before the 2015 ICC World Cup, is a combination of cheeky humour and friendly banter, making it relatable and funny.

Staying true to one of the fiercest competitions in cricketing history, the campaign, created and conceptualized by the in-house team at Star Sports, opens with a Pakistan fan entering his friend’s electronic store to purchase a television set for the upcoming T20 World Cup clash.

The film continues with the concept of the Indian and Pakistani fans trying to get the better of each other.

Speaking about the latest installation of the ‘Mauka Mauka’ promo ahead of the India-Pakistan game in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2021, Sanjog Gupta, Head-Sports, Star and Disney India, said: “The India-Pakistan clash is one of the biggest matchups in the world of sports. The clash at an ICC event attracts core and casual Cricket fans as well as viewers who don’t watch any other Cricket.”

“The historic on-field rivalry between both teams is unparalleled and we believe that the iconic ‘Mauka Mauka’ campaign captures the spirit of this rivalry, blending competitiveness, banter and sportsmanship,” he added.

India and Pakistan renew their on-field rivalry in a contest billed as the mother of all clashes. The Men in Blue have never lost to Pakistan in either 50-over World Cup games or T20 World Cup games.

Team India has got the better of their arch-nemesis in five consecutive ICC T20 World Cup encounters – twice in the 2007 T20 World Cup, followed by victories in 2012, 2014, and 2016.

Virat Kohli and Co. will be eager to continue their domination in this star-studded fixture which will also be the tournament opener for both teams.

Before beginning their campaign in the upcoming T20 World Cup, the Team India will play a couple of warm-up games against England and Australia on October 18 and October 20.

While the first warm-up game will begin at 19:30 IST, the second one will start at 15:30 IST. Both the matches, which will be held in Dubai, will broadcasted live on Star Sports.

After opening their campaign against Pakistan on October 24 in Dubai, the Men In Blue, placed in the second group, will next face New Zealand on October 31 at the same venue before facing Afghanistan on November 3 in Abu Dhabi.

Team India will then take on the two of the four qualifiers on November 5 and 8 in Dubai.

The two semifinals will be held on November 10 and November 11 with the final to be played on November 14.

Earlier on Wednesday, the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) had unveiled a brand new jersey of which the Indian cricket team will be donning at the showpiece event.

The new kit is called the ‘Billion Cheers Jersey’ and will replace the 1992 World Cup pattern-like jersey the team had been donning since late 2020.

Pro Kabaddi Season 8 to begin on Dec. 22

Mashal Sports, organizers of Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), has announced the return of the league’s season 8, which is scheduled to commence from December 22, 2021.

The Player Auctions for the season were conducted on August 29th – 31st, 2021 in Mumbai.

Keeping the health and safety of the players and all stakeholders in mind, this year the league will be held without spectators, at a single venue in Bengaluru, moving away from the traditional caravan format.

Speaking on the return of PKL Season 8, Anupam Goswami, CEO, Mashal Sports and League Commissioner, VIVO Pro Kabaddi League said: “We are very privileged that Season 8 of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League will be hosted in Karnataka, especially as this state is a very significant geography for kabaddi and PKL fans in India. Bengaluru has all the facilities for the conduct of big competitive sports events with best safety practices, and we look forward to demonstrating this with PKL Season 8.”

Welcoming the league to Karnataka, the honourable Chief Minister of the state Shri. Basavaraj Bommai said: “Kabaddi is a genuine indigenous sport of India and very popular in Karnataka. We welcome and support the conduct of forthcoming Pro Kabaddi Season 8 in our state.”

The league will implement protocols to comply with government regulations and guidelines and will work with specialized safety agencies to implement stringent safety practices and create a bio – secure bubble, a first for any professional indoor contact sports league in India.

Season 8 of the VIVO Pro Kabaddi League will be broadcast live on the Star Sports Network (SSN) and Disney+Hotstar.

Earlier, season 8, which was scheduled to be held in 2020, was cancelled due to the Covid-19 Pandemic.

Notably, the Pro Kabaddi League is a professional-level Kabaddi league in India, which was launched in 2014.

The league’s inception was influenced by the popularity of the Kabaddi tournament at the 2006 Asian Games. The format of the competition was influenced by the Indian Premier League (IPL). The Pro Kabaddi League uses a franchise-based model and its first season was held in 2014 with eight teams each of which had paid fees of up to US$250,000 to join.

For the 2017 and 2018–19 season, the Pro Kabaddi League added four new teams, and changed its format to split the teams into two divisions known as “zones”. Soon the league returned to its regular double round-robin format for the 2019 season.

Bengal Warriors are the defending champions of the league. The Warriors had defeated Dabang Delhi 39-34 in the final of season 7 at the Arena Indoor Stadium, Ahmedabad to lift the coveted trophy for the first time in league’s history.

Patna Pirates is the most successful team of the league after winning the trophy thrice.

ICC likely to halve media rights cycle from eight to four, says report

The international cricket calendar will witness a huge transformation in the next coming years as global cricket governing body – the International Cricket Council (ICC) will most likley halve the duration of its media right bids.

With the sport ready to see an expansion with more global events scheduled and additional nations expected to participate, the ICC is aiming to transform its media-rights arrangement from the new cycle, which will begin in 2024.

A report in the Times of India (TOI) has claims that instead of an eight-year bid, which the ICC has been following, the global cricket governing body could opt to halve the duration of the media right bids and sell them for four years.

If the report comes true, it would mean that the current eight-year cycle, which began in 2015 and will end in 2023, the media rights would now be available only for a period between 2023 to 2027 and then the another bid in 2027 will see the next four year period.

The report also claimed that another possible change on cards is that instead of a consolidated global bid, which has been the case for several years in the past, the ICC might sell the rights separately in territories with India being the major market to be targeted.

Currently, Star Group holds the rights as it had won the tender with a bid of US$1.98b in 2014 for the period between 2015 and 2023.

“A year ago, the ICC began working on this plan. They realized that opting to float a tender just for the India market – their biggest revenue-earner – would help them consolidate their biggest market first and then allow them the necessary time and resources to tender other global territories such as UK & Europe, Americas, African countries, Australia and New Zealand,” sources were quoted as saying by TOI.

For the ongoing cycle, ICC had awarded Star Sports the global broadcast rights for all ICC Events 2015-2023 which included exclusive live and highlights rights across all platforms for ICC major events – the ICC Cricket World Cup and its qualifiers, the ICC Women’s World Cup, the ICC World Twenty20 and its qualifiers, the ICC Champions Trophy and the ICC Under-19 Cricket World Cup.

Star Sports, the sports broadcasting network owned by 21st Century Fox through its subsidiaries STAR TV and Fox International Channels, broadcasts primarily to India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka (India and Indian Sub-Continent) with further reach into East Asia on specific channels.

Earlier, the game’s global body had announced the event calendar for the 2023-31 cycle, which is set to undergo a big change.

In the next 2023-31 cycle, the sport will witness atleast one men and women ICC event every year while the men’s World Cup and T20 World cup will be expanded to 14 and 20 teams respectively.

On the other hand, the women’s events will also see an expansion in terms of participating teams as the Women T20 World Cup will feature 10 teams rather than eight from 2029. The Women T20 World cup is set to see 12 participants from 2025.

While the Men’s Champions Trophy is set to make a comeback in the cricketing calender, a Women’s T20 Champions Trophy will be also played for the first time in 2026.