Kartikey Sharma, founder, Pro Wrestling League: We will do 100 cr of revenue this year
35 countries, 50 olympians, and 20 olympic medalists in the first season! The Pro-Wrestling League is confident of generating 100 crores worth of gross revenue this year, a bold statement indeed. It has not been the easiest ride though. It is one thing to re-strategise cricket or football into a different format. It’s a different story to pick up a sport not as popular, and successfully break into a new market.
The 2nd season of the Pro-Wrestling League is due on 15th of December, 2016, and Kartikeya Sharma, of iTV Media Network, and founder of the PWL, talked of the journey that led to this successful IP at EEMAX Global 2016. The ball started rolling from the thought that Indian wrestlers are doing well in International events, therefore such a product may be welcomed by consumers.
“It is no mean job to take an idea of a event property and convert it into a successful commercial product, on ground, on air, which is an ensemble. I like to mention here today that events and broadcast are not very far apart with respect to sports IP. They are intertwined. Two faces of the same coin. Both have to be completely managed for the concept of the whole product to work,” said Kartikeya.
The team rose to challenge of creating an event that captured audience for 18 days, on air as well as the audience present on ground. It was accomplished by connecting to the audience, by the innovation, evolution of the sport without taking away anything from the sport. The international WWE rules were followed, but several features added to augment the experience. One such feature was ‘Toss’ where you could block a blow from the opposing team, which helped to make the outcome uncertain.
Male and female wrestlers playing in the league side by side, warranted an unique angle to the male-dominated sport and the product was positioned to connect with all segments of the audience, to provide exposure. Package and narration, it demonstrated, could make a great difference.
“Saakshi Malik was also a part of PWL. This is the ecosystem we are trying to build- a cohesive, commercially sustainable ecosystem, profitable for the stakeholders, players, broadcasters, and viewers. When entirely works, only then does commercial sports get longevity,” said Kartikeya.
Uniquely, PWL connected extensively to the women audience, as 48% of the viewership consisted of the fairer sex. Not less noteworthy was the fact that 15000 were waiting to get in to the PWL, while ITPL which hosted renowned names like Federer, Nadal and Jokovitch witnessed a considerably lesser crowd, as stated by a contented Kartikeya. “It proves it is not only about stars, but about getting fundamentals right- understanding wrestling, viewership, campaigns. In the experiential space today it is important to accentuate that process,” he added.
For Kartikeya, who has a family business in hotels, media and broadcasting, along with sports, the favourite is constant drive for creating more ideas and building them from scratch. Therefore IPs are close to his heart, as lot of hard work had gone into these concepts. “If you understand your business, know it well, know how to approach it that’s what makes a difference,” he expressed, as the secret behind his conquests.
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