The Man Who Brought Kabaddi to Indian Households For a country which has worshipped the ground cricketers have walked on, getting another sport to be showcased in a similar format was not an easy task. But Anupam Goswami and Marshal Sports are striving towards making kabaddi a world-class sport.
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In the world of the Indian Premier League, Marshal Sports took a gamble on the grassroot sport of Kabaddi nine years ago. And the rest as they say is history. U Mumba vs Jaipur Pink Panthers match in 2014 kick started a new annual sporting event "Pro Kabaddi League". For its latest season nine, the Indian men's professional Kabaddi league clocked in a viewership of 222 million, which was 17.5 per cent up from its 2021 numbers. Safe to say, Indian households are embracing kabaddi with love and enthusiasm.
For a country which has worshipped the ground cricketers have walked on, getting another sport to be showcased in a similar format was not an easy task. But Anupam Goswami and Marshal Sports are striving towards making kabaddi a world-class sport. "Pro Kabaddi has succeeded in presenting kabaddi as a world-class sport from India. When we started, kabaddi players were perceived as athletes of a lesser sport. However, we have made kabaddi careers aspirational and rewarding for kabaddi athletes in India through the Pro Kabaddi League. This is a very notable achievement attained by a handful of Indian sports leagues. Today, we have far more youth playing kabaddi in all parts of the country," shares Anupam Goswami, League Commissioner, Pro Kabaddi League.
At Pro Kabaddi, Goswami works with relevant national and international kabaddi federations, continental regulators, franchise owners, grassroots sports developers, and diverse authorities at the federal and regional levels. He joined Star TV Network in 2013 and in 2015 assumed the role of League Commissioner at Pro Kabaddi League and as the top executive at Mashal Sports Pvt. Ltd.
So, how does the Kabaddi chief define his leadership style? "I am good at discerning and acknowledging real and relevant thinking, competence, and application in my colleagues. This allows me to focus on my own task of aligning, balancing, and even resolving relevant points of view within the team, as well as with multiple stakeholders." Talking about his concern as a leader in the everevolving sporting industry, he shares "In the business of sports, media technologies are constantly evolving expectations as well as the choices of consumers and fans. This is a relentless process, and therefore, sports business leaders should always be concerned about becoming outmoded or losing relevance." PKL is now aiming to bring a new women-player format to the ground courtesy of the success seen by the men's league.
The toil of Goswami, Marshal Sports and Star TV Network has turned Kabaddi into a glamorous corporate- backed sport which is now being looked at as a full-time profession by Indian youths.