The fourth edition of the STAR Sports Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), which kicked off on Saturday night, has 11 on-air and on-ground sponsors. The title sponsorship still remains with STAR Sports, the sports network under STAR India and official broadcaster of the league.
The tournament has managed to retain five of the partners from Season 3 — Bajaj Electricals, Indo Nissin Foods, Fair and Lovely (men), State Bank of India and Gionee Mobiles. The newcomers into the PKL sponsorship fold include Airtel (Open Network), Vini Cosmetics, Nestle Munch, Bisleri, Castrol, and Britannia.
This season, PKL included some changes in the player pool and saw a push on marketing through three brand ambassadors. Rana Daggubati, who has featured in Telugu films like Bahubali and Hindi films like Dum Maaro Dum, Kannada actor, singer and TV presenter Puneeth Rajkumar and Punjabi actor-singer Diljit Dosanjh, who is also a lead actor in Abhishek Chaubey's Udta Punjab.
Promoter of the league, Mashal Sports and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India (AKFI), hosted the Indian Defence Services players’ allocation and selection process for Season 4. The league organised these players' draft process in alignment with the Services Sports Controlled Board and the Amateur Kabaddi Federation of India. Allocation of players was executed by an open draw process. One designated representative from each of the eight teams participated in the draw. A total of 15 players were picked from a pool of 24 players.
For the rest of the players, the league hosted an auction which attracted Rs 12.82 crore. The highest bid was for Mohit Chhillar, who was bagged by Bengaluru Bulls for Rs 53 lakh. The top five players in the overseas category saw high interest from all franchisees. Fazel Atrachali of Iran went to Patna Pirates for Rs 38 lakh. South Korean star player Jang Kun Lee was retained by Bengal Warriors for Rs 22 lakh. Hadi Oshtorak, who was the highest bided player from Season 2 by Telugu Titans, kept up his impressive run in Pro Kabaddi and was bagged by Patna Pirates for Rs 8 lakh. Iranian all-rounder Meraj Sheykh went to Dabang Delhi K.C. for Rs 19 lakh; against the base price of Rs 12 lakh.
STAR Sports Pro Kabaddi will be telecast on STAR Sports 2 and STAR Sports HD 2 in English, STAR Sports 3 and STAR Sports HD 3 in Hindi, Maa Movies in Telugu 7:50 pm onwards; on STAR Gold in Hindi and Suvarna Plus in Kannada 7:50 pm onwards and on STAR's Digital platform, hotstar.