The league will have six franchises, and dates for the first season will be announced soon
Corporate majors Adani Group and GMR Group have decided to acquire franchises in the upcoming sporting league, Ultimate Kho Kho, for an undisclosed amount. Promoted by Dabur India’s Amit Burman in collaboration with Kho Kho Federation of India, the league is gearing up for the first season later this year.
Tenzing Niyogi, CEO, Ultimate Kho Kho, told BusinessLine, “With Adani Group and GMR Group coming on-board, it’s a strong step forward for Ultimate Kho Kho in becoming a sporting movement. All the stakeholders are aligned to the objective of leveraging on the strong existing fan-base, nurturing the sporting talent, and developing a thriving sporting ecosystem for Kho Kho through a professional league set-up.
From a US-based tech firm to an Indian NBFC, there has been a strong interest in owning the other franchises too in this home-grown sporting league. Niyogi said that overall, the league will have six franchises, and dates for the first season will be announced soon.
Adani Sportsline has acquired the Gujarat franchise of the league. In a statement, Pranav Adani, Director, Adani Enterprises, said, “At Adani Sportsline, we are delighted to be in a position to promote yet another exciting homegrown sport. Our experience with the Kabaddi and Boxing League gives us confidence that the Ultimate Kho Kho League will do wonders for this much-loved traditional sport. ”
Meanwhile, GMR Sports has picked up the Telangana franchise. Vinod Bisht, CEO, GMR Sports, told BusinessLine, “Our aim is to promote sports among youth, connect with the community and build a supporting ecosystem. We will be leveraging our experience with cricket and other indigenous sports such as Kabaddi and wrestling. There is already a latent demand for Kho Kho and we believe a professional league set-up will be able to tap into that demand. It will also accelerate the development of an ecosystem for the sport at the grassroots level. ”
With Kho-Kho being played avidly by boys and girls right from the school level, the total playing population in the country is pegged at about 20-25 lakh, said Niyogi. “We believe we can leverage the popularity of the sport among both men and women to garner a strong TV viewership for the league, especially from the prime-time appointment viewing perspective. It will be one of the fastest sports to be watched on TV and will be full of action-packed moments,” he stated.
Last year, the league inked a multi-year broadcasting deal with Sony Pictures Networks India. The games will be broadcast across SPNI’s sports channels and their OTT platform SonyLIV.