Good Sports: FAST-GROWING PROFESSIONAL LEAGUE
If the Steelers and Titans meet in the championship game, it will be watched by tens of millions of people. No, this isn’t about the NFL but a league whose popularity may be growing even faster: India’s Pro Kabaddi league, which features 12 teams, including the Haryana Steelers and Telugu Titans.
Last season’s title game between the Patna Pirates and the Gujarat Fortunegiants drew a TV audience of 26.2 million, almost twice the number of viewers who tuned in for cricket’s IPL final.
The popularity of the league, beginning its sixth season in October, has turned some kabaddi stars into professionals. The highest-paid player this year will be Monu Goyat, a 25-year-old raider whom the Haryana Steelers landed with a Rs. 15.1 million ($225,609) bid in a recent auction in Mumbai.
“I am extremely happy to be the highest paid player this season,” Goyat told Reuters. “There is a huge responsibility to deliver and I am glad to receive this opportunity. I will now focus on increasing the standard of my game and playing the best I can.”
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