After the taste of success on the football field with Bengaluru FC, JSW Sport — the sport wing of the JSW Group, is fielding the only team from South India to participate in the upcoming Pro Wrestling League.
Bengaluru Yodhas, will go head-to-head with Delhi Veer, Punjab Royals, UP Warriors, Haryana Hammers and Mumbaiche Garude, as part of the first installation of the Pro Wrestling League (PWL) that kicks off on December 10.
Narsingh Yadav, the only Indian wrestler to win a medal at the 2015 World Wrestling Championship, will lead the nine-wrestler strong team of Bengaluru Yodhas as captain. The teams were selected at a recent auction that fetched Rs 11 crore.
“We have a lot of experience from what we’ve done in football and we are going to see what works for wrestling. We’re looking at it as a challenge, because even football wasn’t as easy as what everyone makes it out to be. Even though Bengaluru had a history in the sport, there was a long disconnect,” said Mustafa Ghouse, CEO of JSW Sports.
Karnataka has traditionally had a strong following for wrestling, a sport which was patronised by the erstwhile rulers of the state of Mysore. Even today, youngsters train at Garadis (wrestling arenas) found across cities and towns.
PWL is an Olympic-style wrestling competition, which came about through a partnership between the Wrestling Federation of India (WFI) and Prosportify Private Limited (PPL). Given the recent success of sporting leagues in the country, advertisers, broadcast companies and team owners are immensely interested in the activity
In its inaugural year, the Pro Wrestling League will offer Rs 20 crore in prize money – Rs 5 crore of which will be bagged by the winning team. Moreover, Sony Networks recently bagged the broadcasting rights for the event and will air it in 60 countries around the globe.
Success of the Pro Kabaddi League, Indian Badminton League and i-League (football), in recent past, is pumping money into other sports. While cricket is still by far the biggest bastion for Indian sports, public interest in other Olympic sports is certainly growing.