Originally planned to kick start in 2020, the inaugural edition of the league got postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but is now all set to kick start in 2022. The league is promoted by Dabur Group chairman Amit Burman, in his personal capacity. He has acquired long-term commercial rights from the Kho Kho Federation of India (KKFI).

As part of the deal, SPN will air the league across its network of sports channels and on the dedicated OTT platform, SonyLIV.

“Ultimate Kho Kho will bring back the oldest sport packaged in a modern avatar coupled with a new format and a dazzling television product that has the potential to not only revolutionise the sport but also create a unique experience for the audience—something that no one has ever witnessed before,” Burman said.

The traditional Indian sport of Kho Kho enjoys popularity across India owing to its easy-to-play rule and high-speed format.

“At Sony Pictures Networks, our focus has always been to promote a multi-sport culture in India and Ultimate Kho Kho is a great addition to our sports portfolio,” said Rajesh Kaul, Head - Sports Business, SPN. “Kho Kho is an extremely popular traditional Indian sport popular across India and we are happy to be on board and showcase Ultimate Kho Kho to our viewers.”

The teams will consist of men and under-18 from all states across India registered under the Kho Kho Federation of India. Player drafts are scheduled for July this year and franchise owners will be offered a bank of over 150 Indian players based on their performance and score in the Nationals and recently concluded high-performance training camp.

“For a sport to be packaged as a brand, it needs to have ‘an edge of the seat’ format, where every minute is a spectacle. Ultimate Kho Kho has been envisioned as an intersection where the passion for a popular homegrown sport meets new-age technologies and state-of-the-art formats. We aim to create new champions, celebrate the pride for the sport and take Kho Kho to newer commercial heights,” said Tenzing Niyogi, CEO, Ultimate Kho Kho.

The league will be telecast in English and Hindi initially, with plans to add regional language commentary in future.