If one wishes to understand the sheer passion among achievers in today’s day and age, then there cannot be a better platform than that of sports. Sports have always been a yardstick to measure greatness and character and, continue to be the measuring scale against which lives are judged, whether on a cricketing turf, badminton court, Hockey field or soccer pitch.
India is interestingly at a fine interlude of many sporting adventures. No longer is one of the rising economies of Asia considered the breeding ground for world’s most enigmatic cricketers alone. The change in this regard grew from the rising interest in soccer, evidently, finding national television-bred curiosity, at Pan-India level in the last decade or so. Then came in the turn of enigmatic but extremely competitive sports- physical to the core and emotionally draining to the last twitch of the muscle- including, Basketball, Kabaddi, Badminton and, Volleyball.
And now, just as stellar Bollywood hits such as Dangal and Sultan have done their due to rip apart the thin-veiled indifference toward India’s most rustic competition, Wrestling has risen as a great sports fest. Sporting leagues are the new face of presenting an encompassing world of sporting action in India.
Let’s analyse the best and most popular sports leagues in India with depth:
1. Indian Soccer League
Soccer is world’s most followed sport and, truth be told, a daring sport where daredevilry and team spirit engender mind-bending results for a side. That only explains the phenomenal popularity of soccer in India, at a national level.
Launched in 2014, sponsored by an all-season brand, Hero’s India Soccer League is sports in its finest franchise avatar yet. Way back on October 12, 2014, the Indian Soccer League found its way into the heart of the sports’ lover of India- displaying full bravado and charm for soccer, a reason for upping the tempo of TRP’s globally. The men’s professional football league of India, is the newest and most exciting footballing extravaganza for soccer in Asia. As of now, 8 ISL teams have shaped up the destinies of one of India’s most loved sports in a long while.
Interestingly, wanting to finish the existing year with a hint of impish fun, the last three months in a calendar year are noted for Indian Soccer League’s extravaganza offering in form of sports in India with 2017 season’s final schedules yet to be announced.
2. Premier Badminton League
Currently the sport where the ubiquity of a racquet is such that it can find a way to ward off a pray as daringly as taming detractors to lock horns, sports, thanks to stars like P.V. Sindhu, are changing directions altogether. And , Badminton is leading change in the said direction. Indian Badminton League was launched in 2013 with an aim to address the burgeoning market of Badminton, always an eternal favourite for girls and youngsters, is tackling challenges to expand the game fondly called still, ‘birdy’.
With seasoned experts like Mr. Akhilesh Das Gupta leading as the head of the governing the sport, contemporaries such as Jwala Guttta, Saina Nehwal are finding potent fan-base for their talent.
Aggressive names being so much of a sporting necessity in today’s sports has ensured that PBL’s warriors, lock horns with one another winning battles against sides named- Rockets, Smashers, Blasters and Hunters and, acers. The news of cricketing icon Sachin Tendulkar picking in some stakes in Bangalore couldn’t have come at better time with almost everyone excited to see more Sindu versus Carolina Marin games in future.
Teams: With a total number of six teams from Awadhe, Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai, the competition could be incessant and results, incalculable on the basis of hypothesis and guesswork!
Duration: The PBL is right now on, since January 1, 2017 with various games being held in urban centres and Delhi, slated to host the finals.
3. Pro Kabaddi League
Owners, Mashal Sports augmented, in 2014, perhaps the most physically demanding and taxing of all sports amongst India and in just 2 flat years, the idea of bringing fun and explicably, mass-following toward Kabaddi seems to have been achieved. This is a platform, wherein, yesterday’s oblivious, masses line up in queue to catch a glimpse of the sport where the last (2016) world-cup winners were India. Most recent champions, Patna Pirates are a close favorite of Charu Sharma, the league’s director of 8 different teams.
Teams: Teams like Delhi, Bengaluru, Kolkata, Pune, Mumbai, Jaipur, Patna, Vizag are the 8 utterly competitive units that have unleashed fun and arduous competition on one of India’s most unsung sports spectacles.
Duration: The 5th season of the already popular Pro Kabaddi League is set to go all guns blazing by mid-2017, with full schedule to be announced yet. Maybe, Patna will be the team to beat this season.
4. Indian Volleyball League
This was always considered to be a bit of a ‘side-kick of a game’, something that could be intended to serve no novel value but temporary sense of entertainment. And mister wonderful for Indian Volleyball League have seemingly been found courtesy sports marketing firm, Sportzlive, who in association with Volleyball Federation of India, announced kick-start of Indian Volleyball League about a year back in early 2016.
Duration: In 2017, Indian Volleyball League would be raring to go in their self-confessed bid to popularise the sport here in India, it having been a cultural phenomenon of sort being played in 200 nations, thus far.
Teams: Promising at least, 40 days of non-stop, at a stretch volleyball aciton, Indian Volleyball League will be armed with 6 city-teams specifically such as Chennai, Hyderbad, Maratha, Yanam, Kerala and, Karnataka.
5. International Premier Tennis League
With Mahesh Bhupati, the long-standing spectacular Tennis legend being at the helm of IPTL’s affairs, plenty of fire-works could be expected from the 2017 season, an affair widely known as an Asia centric fanfare. Interestingly, having to announce exact dates for 2017 season, where once again international tennis elites will be seen conquering glory for UAE, Singapore, India and Japan sides, there’s a twist to the story with the announcement for Vijay Amritraj-backed Champion Tennis League. The latter, is believed to be only an India-based and India-focused tennis league which fundamentally shouldn’t and isn’t to pose threat or challenge to Bhupathi’s IPTL, which began in 2014, where Singapore-Slammers where the giant killers.
Duration: 2017 dates are yet to be announced for both IPTL and CTL.
6. Pro-Wrestling League
Currently, one of the most prestigious and widely-celebrated sports events in the whole of India is slated to continue up until the 19th of January. The level of obduracy demanded in addition to the tenacity which cannot be amiss, PWL in India, is a spectacular fan-favourite event.
The finals, to be held on January 19 will see one winner rise above ecstatically moving competition of skills and daring fought with a certain gallantry that can be only seen in physical contact sports such as wrestling, perhaps the newfound love of India.
Duration: In only it’s second edition, the inaugural season of India’s iconic Wrestling league having begun in 2016, the competition is immensely caustic one. This year’s ongoing event is said to have its final to be held on January 19th.
Teams: with players- national and international being divided among 6 teams, such as – Jaipur, Delhi, Mumbai, UP, Haryana and Punjab.
The first-of-its kind league for golf, invariably misinterpreted as an elitist sport, exemplified the rich international success of the sport having begun in 2013 in fine fashion here in India. Today, about to enter in 5th season, the Golf Premier League has 8 sides with the first season won with quite some guile and dash by Uttarakhand Lions. While the inaugural season saw a whopping 3.83 crores being spent on 14 golfers, it remains to be seen what previous heights can be dizzyingly matched in 2017 season, whose dates and schedules are yet to be announced in India.
8. Indian Premier League
It began with a bang with former chief of the IPL, Lalit Modi doing the unthinkable- making cricket truly spectacularly international with tremendous pumping of currency for a good 40 over contest, day in day out. With a rich vein of sizzling international talent, cricket truly became a feast and an eye-fest for fun in it’s most lethal form. Rajasthan Royals were the winners then in 2008 and now with the 10th instalment to begin from the summers in April, a month and a half long cricketing extravaganza will see yet another whirlwind wham-bam cricketing season taking its place in India.
Teams: Kolkata, Mumbai, Bangalore, Gujarat, Punjab, Delhi, Hyderabad, Pune
Duration/ Dates: April-May, 2017