This season for league sports is accomplishing a fever pitch with the 12th version of Indian Premier League (IPL) only a few days away, and India’s top soccer league, the Indian Super League (ISL) having currently concluded with the Banglore Football Club topped as champions. But that isn’t all. Volleyball could be the modern day sport in India to spawn its sports activities league with the inaugural version of Pro Volleyball League. It noticed six teams participate over 20 days, with the Chennai Spartans emerging as the league’s champions. In phrases of geographical representation, the Pro Kabbadi League (PKL), with 12 groups is even bigger than India’s biggest carrying league — the IPL. To get realize greater at those thriving sports leagues, we interviewed Supratik Sen, the CEO and co-founding father of U-Sports, which owns PKL crew U-Mumba because of its first season, and Pro Volleyball League team U-Mumba Volley. Could you shed some light on why PKL became such a splendid achievement, thinking about that only a few years returned it become a rural game? SS: Kabbadi has an enchantment with the masses, as it’s far an excessive intensity sport which can be performed everywhere. I have visible youngsters dressed as wrestlers gambling Kabbadi. The game may be played on small grounds, in alleys, lecture rooms and even on beaches. It is a contact sport that makes it appealing, with the league having spent efforts to take it to hundreds. 2. U-sports activities recently were given its Volleyball team, U Mumba Volley, to compete within the inaugural edition of Pro Volleyball League. What made U-Sport challenge in Volleyball?
SS: The universality of the game. Volleyball is an Olympic recreation and the sport’s governing body the International Volleyball Federation (FIVB) has 221 affiliated members, numbers which are close to soccer. So this is an opportunity to encourage a universally famous sport in India. Three. PKL has proved to be of superb fulfillment. Do you spot Pro Volley Ball league following the similar fashion? SS: Every recreation is particular. Every recreation league has a unique market. If we flip our heads closer to the US, we’ve got around 6-7 exceptional leagues for one of kind sports including basketball, baseball, American football, ice hockey, and Nascar, all of which might be doing properly. We need to be now not comparing numbers from Pro Kabbadi League to that of Pro Volleyball league. There must be a separate scale for every game. It is just too early to skip judgment on a league as new as Pro-Volleyball League. But we are waiting for brilliant matters from volleyball in coming seasons. Consistency is the key. 4. Sports leagues in India had been referred to as “glamour events” by using a few sports activities writers. “Do you compromise? SS: now not. Sports writers are there to critique, and that is their work. But sports league help in encouraging talent. The leagues give the performers a stage to perform and make a decent dwelling for themselves. It makes for competitive sports activities, and it generates many engagements. 5. The franchises participating in leagues in India remain energetic best during the league. In this kind of state of affairs, how do players benefit throughout the offseason? SS: It is authentic that period of leagues is limited. However, we are transferring toward wherein leagues will be performed for a longer period. It has occurred with PKL these days in which the season now spreads over three months, meaning that the gamers are with us for an extended span. These players additionally have their day jobs, at the same time as these offers that Kabbadi players are getting extra profitable. Top gamers in PKL at the moment are drawing income in the bracket of Rs 2 crore to a few crores. So, the gamers at the moment are in that sector in which they need now not fear approximately the low season. 6. Sports Leagues is an aggressive area. There were cases of sports activities leagues no longer meeting numbers. What keeps U-sports encouraged in such case? SS: Yes it is actual that a few sports leagues have failed in India. It has come about with desk tennis or hockey. Multiple motives lead to the failure of sports leagues, but we are not here to compete, and we want to explore the hidden wearing potential of India. Hence we tried cabbage first and now with volleyball. 7. Do the sports activities leagues have viewership in towns, villages, cities, tier-II, tier-III cities? SS: Yes, India is now a rustic wherein TV is without problems reachable, with stay broadcast is assisting in taking sports activities to even the remotest of regions. Also, the virtual platform is the main boost with apps like Hotstar and SonyLIV, and cell becoming reasonably-priced, the viewership in these areas have long past up. Digital is the way in advance to boost sports viewership numbers. Eight. How does U-Sport plan to combine itself with colleges and nearby network stage and constructing engagement with the ground degree audience? SS: With U-Sports having its teams into more than one leagues, there is a lot of overlapping of sports, and this is retaining the floor degree target audience engaged for an awesome stretch of 12 months. PKL now takes place throughout 3-4 months, so that enables us in preserving the sports fans energetic. We do visit schools to inspire the idea of sports. 9. How is the modern infrastructure for a sport like a volleyball in India? SS: It isn’t that fantastic. Also, the numbers are low. We want new volleyball stadiums in Mumbai that are better ready, and I would want open maidans in a town like Mumbai that is easily handy to each one. 10. Do we see team owners of the groups in sports leagues developing with their very own high-performance centers? SS: Yes, that might be extremely good. Every proprietor wants the players of his/her team to be professionally educated, to be getting to know newer things normal, and be supremely match. But putting in place such centers involves a variety of economic investment. Once the money begins pouring in through TV, we would like to have high overall performance centers of our personnel. 11. How is the authorities guide for league sports activities? SS: It is ideal. It is because of the authorities that sports leagues have come up in beyond a few years. 12. Do you purchase into government’s idea of Khelo India? SS: Yes genuinely, it’s for an excellent initiative. It is just into its youth. However, I can say that it has helped in encouraging the young people of our USA to interact in sports. And the fact that our sports minister is a former Olympian facilitates in managing and guiding those games to its supposed desires. Thirteen. Do we see U Sports being part of another sports leagues? SS: I would like to have a team in the football league, I-league. The commercial version of I-league easily allows ownership to put a team collectively in a price range of Rs 30 crore to Rs 40 crore bracket. The returns that we then get from TV makes it an interesting prospect. The I-league groups get great help, and there is always an extraordinary tale coming from the league. 14. What are the long term desires of U-Sports? SS: We at U-Sports need to discover the unexplored or the hidden capacity of India. We want to inspect sports activities that may cross big in our use. Cricket is already there. We have to sell unique wholesome sporting lifestyle in India. 15. A message that you need to ship out to the sports activities fans. Ans: I would need the fans to preserve enjoying sports activities. Also, I need a mega-metropolis like Mumbai to have large open maidans wherein youngsters can play any recreation of their desire. These maidens might inspire the right mindset in youngsters towards sports activities. I am sorry to mention this. However, Mumbai would not have those huge maidans anymore. All the open spaces that after existed has been given for real estate improvement. I would like to look large sprawling grounds where kids play for so long as feasible, whichever game they want. The facilities which might be to be had to play sports activities inside the town price charges, which makes them beyond the reach of many humans. Maidans will assist in inculcate proper attitude in our children. After all, sports activities is an unusualmanner to train youngsters.