In 2014, the Pro Kabaddi League kick-started properly.
The first season began on the 26th of July 2014 and ended on the 31st of August 2014.
The season had double round-robin matches; two semi-finals, a third-place match and final games.
A total of 60 games were played; 56 in the first round and 4 in the playoff stage.
The first edition had 8 teams as participants and the first game of the inaugural season was between U Mumba and Jaipur Pink Panthers.
At the end, Jaipur Pink Panthers defeated U Mumba by 35-24 to clinch the inaugural pro Kabaddi league title.
The second edition of the pro Kabaddi League started on the 18th of July 2015 and ended on the 23rd of August 2015.
Just like at the inaugural season, a total of 60 matches were played.
The first confrontation was between U Mumba and the inaugural champions, Jaipur Pink Panthers while the final confrontation was between U Mumba and Bengaluru Bulls.
This time around, U Mumba defeated Bengaluru Bulls to win the 2015 edition of the Pro Kabaddi League.
Telugu Titans claimed the third position in the league in 2015.
The Pro Kabaddi League, also known as Vivo Pro Kabaddi, is the brainchild of Mashal Sports Pvt. Ltd and Star India Pvt. Ltd.
Since the inaugural edition of the league in 2014, Kabaddi in India has enjoyed a good makeover so much that Kabaddi is now deemed an aspirational sport, both by players and by fans.
Thanks to the support of the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI) and some other international Kabaddi Bodies, the league has grown in leaps and in bounds.
At the end of the inaugural edition of the Pro Kabaddi League, Anup Kumar was named the MVP while Rahul Chaudhari and Manjeet Chhillar were named Top Raid and Top Defender respectively. Kumar was with U Mumba while Chaudhari and Chhillar were with Telugu Titans and Bengaluru Bulls respectively.
After the 2nd season of the Pro Kabaddi League, Manjeet Chhillar of the Bengaluru Bulls, Kashilly Adake of Dabang Delhi K.C were named MVP, Top Raider and Top Defender respectively.
By Season 3, the League was already a household sport league in India. The matches were tightly contested and the defending champions, U Mumba, were trounced by Patna Pirates with a 31-28 scoreline.
The MVP for the 3rd Season was Rohit Kumar while Rishank Devadiya of U Mumba and Sandeep Narwal of Patna Pirates were declared Top Raider and Top Defender respectively.
By June 2016, Season 4 of the Vivo Pro Kabaddi was on and it commenced in the same year with the then just concluded third season.
The 4th Season witnessed increased international participation with 24 players from 12 other countries participating in the matches.
At the end of the season, Patna Pirates retained their title by trouncing the Winners of the Inaugural Season, Jaipur Pink Panthers, 37-29.
This time around, Pardeep Narwal of Patna Pirates was the MVP while Fazel Atrachili and Rahul Chaudhari were Top Defender and Top Raider respectively.
Season 5 of the Pro Kabaddi League witnessed the Patna Pirates setting a new record; they became winners of the league title for the Third time, clinching the first hat-trick in the League’s history.
Again, in the record setting spirit, Season 5 had 138 matches played over a span of 13 weeks, making it the longest season in the League’s history.
The 6th season of the Pro Kabaddi League was an exercise in record smashing. For instance, 5 raiders surpassed the 200 raid point mark for the first time in the League’s history.
Notably, Nitesh Kumar also became the first man to score 100 tackle points in a single season while three defenders scored over 80 tackle points.
This time around, Bengaluru Bulls were the winners of the title, for the first time, one might add.
The MVP of the 6th Season of Vivo Pro Kabaddi was Pawan Kumar Sehrawat of the Bengaluru Bulls while Pardeep Narwal of the Patna Pirates and Nitesh Kumar of U.P Yoddha were named Top Raider and Top Defender respectively.
The Seventh Season of the League was a tough one by all metrics.
According to the Vivo Pro Kabaddi website, an even balance between raiders and defenders meant that the competition between the franchises was fierce.
In fact, 3 Raiders crossed the 300 raid point mark for the first time in a single season. The Seventh Season also witnessed Mohammed Esmaeil Nabibakhsh become the first overseas captain to win the League.
Bengal Warriors won the 7th Season with Naveen Kumar as MVP while Pawan Kumar Sehrawat of Bengaluru Bulls and Fazel Atrachali of U Mumba were Top Raider and Top Defender respectively.
The Inaugural Season of the Pro Kabaddi League was seen by 435 Million viewers, coming second to, you guessed it, the 2014 IPL’s 552 Million.
The League caught fire so much that Star Sports, the League’s Broadcaster, announced in 2015 that it would acquire 75% stake in Mashal Sports, the League’s Parent Company.
As far as prize money goes, the winner of the Season 6 got INR 3 CRORE while the 1st and 2nd Runners-up got INR 1.83 CRORE and INT 1.2 CRORE respectively.
The winner of season 7 got INR 3 CRORE while the Runners-up got INR 1.8 CRORE.
The 8th season of the Pro Kabaddi League was postponed indefinitely because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
The Franchise-based event was initially slated for July-September of 2020.
For a long time, Kabaddi was seen as the sport of rural India, doomed to slowly fade into antiquity and be overwhelmed by sports like cricket.
The Pro Kabaddi League has rubbished such postulations. This is because the body language of the populace to Kabaddi has moved from lukewarm to electrifying in recent years.
Kabaddi has now evolved into an eminent game with lots of media patronage and attention, revamped rules and lucrative awards.
Experts believe the game is enjoying a profitable rebound because viewers enjoy its simplicity and the athleticism involved.