afaqs!, New Delhi & Mumbai
Brands and Sports marketing

Melroy D'Souza, Chief Operating Officer, Professional Management Group

I think one of the key aspects that work in favour of kabaddi is the unique activations.

Aggressive marketing, improving the quality of content, corporate and government backing, and franchise model, have made Kabaddi a popular sport for the consumers. And with the second highest TVR and comprehensive on-ground and on-air integrations, PKL and consequently Kabaddi has given marketers an alternative option.

We interviewed Mr. Melroy D'Souza, Chief Operating Officer, Professional Management Group (a sports marketing company which is part of the Madison World), to know his views on Kabaddi along with Lalit Agrawal, Head OMD India - West, and M. Krishna Kumar, Consulting Marketing Head - Kerala Vision Channel (Ex. Business Director - Maxus Global).

The culture of watching and playing sports, besides cricket, has gained ground in India. What factors do you attribute this growth to?

The key factors attributing to this growth are:

  • Aggressive Media Marketing

  • Making the content of International quality and television friendly

  • Educating viewers of the sport

  • Good International Performances by Indian Athletes in sports like Badminton, Football etc

  • Increase in corporate and government backing

  • Franchise model which helps grow the sport in different regions


In 4 years’ time, the way PKL has grown and consequently Kabaddi, it is not hard to picture it as a rival to its cricketing sibling IPL. However, there’s still a lot left. Digital and TV viewership metrics, meaningful associations, and high-level consumer engagements, are yet to be explored completely. With leagues like PKL offering a good mix of on-air visibility along with on-ground activation opportunities, how best do you think marketers can leverage this relatively new property?

Lalit Agrawal
Lalit Agrawal

Lalit Agrawal , Head OMD India - West

Kabaddi is an opportunity for advertisers who want to associate with the sport from a long term perspective. Cricket costs are prohibitive for a lot of advertisers and hence this poses as an opportunity as the sport develops. While the standard visibility and branding options can be leveraged to build salience, I believe the real benefit lies in building ‘True associations’ that go beyond the norms and benefit the brand and the sport together.

To build such associations one has to first understand where the brand is plotted in the ‘circle of influence’ of the sport. Brands that fall in the inner circle, for instance an health drink, sports apparel …etc have to find out the tension point that they are trying to solve in their consumer’s life and how the sport can help drive that message strongly. Other brands that fall in the outer circle, should look for synergies in the higher order metrics like brand values or what the brand stands for.

This way advertisers will be able to come up with associations that will not only resonate with the consumers from a long term perspective but also with the broadcasters since it will be a win-win situation.

M. Krishna Kumar
M. Krishna Kumar

M. Krishna Kumar, Consulting Marketing Head - Kerala Vision Channel (Ex. Business Director - Maxus Global)

More than 120 brands were active during season 5. Vivo ( title sponsor of rs.300cr deal – 5year deal) and other brands such asTVS Motors, Lux Cozi, etc who had an investment of Rs.12 – 15cr each as well.. Its an opportunity for the Regional / local brands and can benefit if done with the better impact. For brands who didn’t associate with huge money in IPL , this is a very good opportunity . Women viewers are increasing across non Cricketing sports and there are brands from Kerala who are active in Pan Indian market, I think they should explore PKL as it benefits from higher visibility through ON Air and On ground properties as well. Even its popular sporting event I think there is still a lot left, need more consumer engagements, popularise as one of the Value for Money with better ROIs, need to promote with new brand opportunities because this is a growing sport and there is a fantastic opportunity where brands can also build their Brand image/ equity and also can help this sport by motivating the Youth Indians to play it.