Players going under the hammer
The 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.
PKL was back to its original calendar
Season 7 of 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 million viewers tuned in to watch the Pro Kabaddi League Season 7 over 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 throughout 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 Rahul Chaudhari and Siddharth Desai.
The Record-Breakers of the season
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 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 Narwal managed to cross the 300-raid point mark in a season for the second time in his Pro Kabaddi career and also equalled 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. Sehrawat also set the record for the most raid points in a single match by scoring 39 against Haryana Steelers
- Fazel Atrachali was the season’s most successful defender for the second time in 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.
‘Sportainment’ Extravaganza in the ‘Toughest Week’
Pro Kabaddi League brought a first-of-its-kind sports and entertainment extravaganza – Pro Kabaddi playoffs Fanfest.
Fans got a chance to shop for their favourite Pro Kabaddi merchandise, feast on sumptuous food and revel on foot-tapping music by award-winning Bollywood artists LIVE.
Fans were enthralled by the performances of music artists such as Darshan Raval, Kanika Kapoor and Amit Trivedi who performed during the ‘Toughest Week’ which included the playoffs and finals.
These performances added the element of entertainment for fans who turned out in large numbers to watch the performances which were followed by edge-of-the-seat matches.
The high-octane sports and entertainment mix ended with a nail-biting finish with Bengal Warriors claiming their maiden title this season.
A whopping 328 million viewers watched 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.