Kabbadi- A sport of our soil
Originating in the regions of Tamil Nadu and Punjab separately kabbadi is an ancient contact sport that has deep cultural and historical roots in South Asia. Lore narrates that the origins of kabbadi go all the way back to the epic of Mahabharata where Arjuna possessed the skill of infiltrating the enemy’s walls and demolishing all of them silently, ultimately coming out of the situation unscathed. Thus, it is speculated that kabbadi was formed as a tribute to the valour of the Mahabharata’s protagonists. The sport was primarily developed to improve physical strength and speed in men and to boost self-defensive skills and develop quick responses to attacks. It goes without saying that kabbadi is steeped in our rich cultural history and is a sport that is our very own and from our soil rather than a colonial remnant.
The popularity of the sport also has much to do it with simple and easy to understand nature. It was this simplicity of the sport that was exploited by India’s enterprising sports establishment in giving to us the IPL version of kabbadi, the Pro Kabbadi League. A synthesis of the traditional and Punjabi forms of kabbadi, a sport usually played by the rough and tough pehlwans of South Asia in dirt enclosures was presented to television audiences and in a and easy-to-digest fashion. The Pro Kabbadi League was an instant hit enjoying record ratings with 435 million viewers in its first season.
Kabbadi’s Viewership potential
With the booming success that franchise cricket enjoys in Pakistan in the form of the PSL it was only a matter of time before a similar league format for kabbadi found its way to India’s neighbor where the sport is also wildly popular. In a masterstroke the Pakistan Kabbadi Federation revealed plans for the Super Kabbadi League (SKL) to be held in early May featuring international players from more than eight countries with a strength of more than 120 players. The League will comprise of eight teams representing various cities in Pakistan. With the exponential growth and development taking place in Gwadar, the city was included in the eight cities to be represented in the SKL alongside economic powerhouses such as Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad. Mammoth Chinese investment of up to $62 bn has been pouring into Pakistan in the form of the China Pakistan Economic Corridor and Gwadar is at the heart of China’s efforts to catalyse economic growth in the region through its Belt and Road Initiative. It is fair to say that the Gwadar Port is magnum opus of the CPEC and the single most important infrastructure scheme under the monumental investment project. With is completion Gwadar promises to become a regional economic hub.
BTN’s Enterprising Move and Commitment to Gwadar
Committed to making the CPEC a success and facilitating the burgeoning real estate market in Gwadar, BTN Marketing Consultants recognised the massive potential of the SKL early on and purchased the team representing Gwadar in the League under the name of Gwadar Bahadurs. From an investment perspective this made perfect sense as BTN was already exclusively involved in the real estate scene in Gwadar. Adding a sports team from Gwadar to our portfolio allows us to raise our own profile alongside making sure that through franchise kabbadi Gwadar gets the recognition and support that it deserves. BTN is also giving a platform to the youth of Pakistan to showcase their talent and become sports superstars with the exposure that they will get through a nationally broadcast kabbadi league.
This is an inimitable opportunity for players of sports other than cricket to make a name for themselves on the national stage and become household names. BTN is proud to play a role in this groundbreaking league that is sure to transform the sporting scene in Pakistan. With a massive sports-loving population the SKL has enormous potential to become a booming success in a country that is starved for healthy entertainment. BTN has partnered with the internationally reputed Strawberry Sports Management to make this ownership venture a booming success. At a signing ceremony held at the BTN offices in Lahore Strawberry CEO Haider Ali Dawood put pen to paper on a partnership agreement to assist BTN in the operation of its team. The ceremony also marked the initiation of BTN’s ownership of Gwadar Bahadurs.