Sports

Amit Burman-promoted Ultimate Kho Kho set to kickstart this year

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on March 15, 2021

A Kho Kho tournament in Delhi, in February 2021   -  PTI

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After Kabaddi, Indian sports enthusiasts can look forward to watching Kho Kho in a professional league format this year.

Amit Burman-promoted Ultimate Kho Kho, the first league of its kind for the home-grown sport, is all set to kickstart this year. The league has inked a multi-year broadcasting deal with Sony Pictures Networks India, with the first season scheduled for later this year.

Amit Burman, Chairman, Dabur India, and Promoter of the Ultimate Kho Kho told BusinessLine, that an investment of about ₹200 crore has been earmarked for the next five years for this initiative. He added that of this about ₹100 crore has been allocated for development of the sport at the grass-roots level.

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Huge potential

“I believe there is a huge potential to develop this home-grown sport into a professional league, with rising popularity of non-cricket sports in the country. I think the sport is well-suited for television and we plan to package it in a modern avatar with shorter duration and faster game play. It will be a high-octane television product that will revolutionise the sport and create a unique experience for the audience,” Burman stated.

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The league is in conversation with potential franchises and the first season is expected to feature six teams. “We have got a great response from stakeholders for picking up franchises in the league. The first season will have six teams which will be increased to eight teams by next year,” Burman said.

Ultimate Kho Kho will be telecast on Sony's sports channels in English as well as Hindi and is also likely to have regional language commentary. Viewers will also be able to watch Ultimate Kho Kho on SonyLIV.

“There is a huge viewership base to tap into as this is an extremely popular traditional sport with a strong rural connect. Broadcast rights will be the key source of revenue for the franchises. We will also leverage on ticket sales, local sponsorships and merchandise sales,” he added.

Player drafts are scheduled for mid-year this year and franchise-owners will be offered a bank of over 150 Indian players based on their performance and score at the national level and recently concluded high-performance training camp in February 2021.

Rajesh Kaul, Chief Revenue Officer, Distribution and Head - Sports Business at Sony Pictures Networks India, said that the exclusive multi-year broadcasting deal for the league was in line with the company’s strategy to promote multiple sports.

Published on March 15, 2021

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