LEAGUES, LEAGUES everywhere
If Indian Premier League (IPL) brought the league culture in India then this year saw this culture multiply manifolds engulfing many sports played in India.
Hockey India League was the second league to promote the national sport. The tournament was successful in generating more viewership for the sport not just in India but also in countries like Canada, Austarila, Pakistan and South Africa. The league gave a huge boost to the sport. This was followed by Indian Badminton League which again attracted good sponsors and made huge signings. Players like Lee Chong Wei and Saina Nehwal were auctioned for huge amounts. The fortnight long tournament turned out to be richest badminton league of the world.
The greatest surprise came from Pro Kabaddi League which was started from 2014. With the franchises being owned by Bollywood actors and business groups, the sport got a huge resurgence and international recognition. Television coverage and a bit of Bollywood has given India’s ancient sport of kabaddi a touch of glamour and the viewership was more than three times that the Fifa World Cup got in its opening week in India. The next big league that the Indians look forward is ISL (Indian Super League). With huge marquee signings like Del Piero, Nicholas Anelka, Juan Capdevilla, Marco Materazzi and many more the event promises to gain reputation from football lovers all over the world. In December, IPTL(International Premier Tennis League) started it’s inaugural season with 4 countries including India hosting it. The Indian team boasted of professionals like Roger Federer, Gael Monfils, Fabrice Santoro, Ana Ivanovic and Pete Samparas along with Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna. The league is considered as the brainchild of Mahesh Bhupati which again is planned to execute in an IPL style format.