The awakening of the Indian sports industry

Omkar Paranjape
Sunday, 12 May 2019

Franchise-based sporting events have been on the rise in India for the past decade or so. These leagues have kicked off the evolution of Indian sports industry on multiple fronts

India’s relationship with cricket needs little introduction, but while the sport – something often compared to religion in the country – continues to drive the growth of the Indian sports industry, other sports are adding rich diversity to the sector. 

Sepp Blatter, the former FIFA chief, once said, “India is a sleeping giant and it needs to be awakened.”

But times are changing and the successful launch of the Indian Super League, plus FIFA’s award of the 2017 Under-17 World Cup to India, hint at a brighter future for football in the 

Sponsorship money raised by other sports is also on the rise. India has witnessed the entry of multiple start-ups in sports over the past few years; these include companies involved in sports infrastructure, sports tourism, education and training, online retail, technology and online ticket booking.

The neighbours’ note
While China, the world’s most populous nation, has developed itself as a competitive nation in the Olympics, India is yet to lay down a foundation for Indian athletes to succeed. Off late, initiatives have been taken to overhaul the entire sporting culture in the country – a process that was started by corporates and now it involves the government, with the collective aim to nurture and grow sports in India.

Rise of franchise sports
The emergence of commercial sports leagues such as Indian Premier League (IPL), Indian Super League (ISL), Premier Badminton League (PBL) and Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has been game-changers in terms of bringing in big moolah and establishing grass-root academies for their respective sports. However, the leagues, which happen for only over the course of a few months, hampers employment opportunities.

The viewership dynamics
Lately, the sports broadcasting landscape in India has transformed significantly. Broadcasters are increasingly looking to diversify their portfolios with a variety of sports other than cricket to keep the viewership rising. With over 675 million people having access to a TV in India, it is the second-largest market for broadcast media after China. Plus the sports genre has the potential to drive subscription revenue in addition to advertising revenue.

Sports broadcasting in India has taken a new turn with the advent of various sports leagues. Broadcasters are vying for fresh properties, through global biggies and homegrown leagues, to increase their portfolio of TV channels as well as digital platforms.

Sports Ministry chips in
While the Sports Ministry in India has initiated a few policy changes and successfully launched the ambitious Khelo India programme, much more needs to be done. If India has to build itself into a sporting nation and institutionalise the outdoor habit, India needs an innovative approach towards funding this movement.

Need for Sports Management
The league competitions have certainly raised the demand for sports managers. Opportunities in sponsorship marketing, high-quality operation management and performance analysis in sports like cricket, football, tennis, kabaddi and badminton in India are what drives this industry forward.
With the success of several leagues on multiple fronts, the question raised by many is – Will these leagues inspire young blood in our country to take up these sports and make our country reach the top? Yes, why not!

High demand jobs in the sports industry 
- Sports Marketing
- Sports Event Management
- Team Management
- Players’ Management
- Infrastructure Management
- Grassroots Development
- Sports Media
- Media Providers
- Training Management

Professional sports leagues in India 
- Indian Premier League 
- Pro Kabaddi League 
- Indian Super League 
- Indian Wrestling League 
- Pro Volleyball League

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