Why Sports is the next big industry in India

Why Sports is the next big industry in India

“What is the next big industry?” Good investors always try to find answer for this question. For them, a flourishing industry is a golden opportunity to gamble their luck. Growth of an industry depends on various factors of organic and inorganic nature. In India, now the sports industry is in the right track of growth due to several factors that our economists doesn’t notice yet. For our governments (national and state levels), sports is just winning a few medals in Olympics and Asian Games. So we spend billions for getting couple of medals in Olympics rather than spending anything for the development of sports industry in total. There is no meaning in blaming our administrators for their ignorance or negligence. Fortunately, the Indian sports industry is growing in a rapid speed without the support of any specific government policy. We would like to explore these growth factors for the good of everyone in the sports industry and for the investors who are looking for the next big industry.

Based on the research by the Sports Research Team of Sports & Management Research Institute (SMRI), the following 8 factors are accelerating the development of Indian sports industry.

sports in india

Click to download & read the article in pdf format– Why Sports is the next big industry in India (PDF)


Shocked. Yes, India is weak and dying. The following facts will substantiate our statement

Lifestyle diseases are on a hike in India. Today our country has higher death toll from common non-communicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart diseases, diabetes, overweight/obesity and cancer than any other country. India has the highest number of people dying from heart diseases. As per various reports 1) 60 million Indians will die prematurely of chronic diseases in the next 10 years, 2) 213.5 million Indians will live with hypertension in 2025 and 3) 57.2 million Indians will be diabetic patients by 2025.

Reason: Inactive lifestyle is considered as the one of the major causes behind these issues.

India has the highest number of preterm births with 3,519,100 preterm births every year. India, being the second most populous country is with large number infants is born annually with birth defects. Congenital anomalies (also referred as birth defects) affect an estimated 1 in 33 infants and result in approximately 3.2 million birth defect-related disabilities every year. An estimated 2,70,000 newborns die during the first 28 days of life every year from congenital anomalies. Congenital anomalies may result in long-term disability, which may have significant impacts on individuals, families, healthcare systems and societies.

Reason: We spend lot of time to decide which dress to wear to attend a marriage. We spend one year for preparing for entrance exam. But during procreation, we never plan, think or decide. We say, ‘it just happened’. Our unhealthy approach towards procreation and inactive lifestyle lead to increased preterm birth, congenital defects, abortion, learning disabilities and many more.

Around 80% of the Indian population has Vitamin D level less than normal level. However, the bigger concern is that the population at large is not even aware of Vitamin D deficiency and its consequences. The research has established the strong association of vitamin D deficiency in diabetes, immunity, asthma, TB, high blood pressure, neuromuscular function etc.

Reason: Sunscreen lotions, staying indoors, clothing habits, pollution and minimal exposure to direct sunlight (during the period of 10am to 3pm) are the major reasons of such widespread Vitamin D deficiency in the Indian population.

 About 800,000 people commit suicide worldwide every year, of these 135,000 (17%) are residents of India. Suicide rates show a peak among the young and the elderly. Youngsters in the 15-29 years age group accounted for the highest rate of suicide.

Reason: Failure is a stepping stone for success. A winner must experience and accept failure, and must fight back to succeed. But, our education system doesn’t give an opportunity to fail.  All pass system and reduced number of sports competitions keep school children out of failure. Most of them face or experience the failure during their SSLC or Plus two public exam. It leads to disappointment, depression and ultimately suicide.

The risk of breast cancer, Osteoporosis, depression, anxiety and lifestyle diseases is very high in Indian woman. The rate of suicide has been found to be higher in women as compared to men in India. If a woman is unhealthy, the next generation will also be unhealthy.

Reason: Indian women are forced to live a sedentary life due to various cultural, religious, sociological and economic reasons. This sedentary lifestyle is the major reason for the increase in these complications.

Rising infertility rate. The rising number of fertility clinics in India doesn’t represent the growth of Indian society. It’s the right indicator of another crisis India is facing. Rocketing infertility and impotency. Rough estimates suggest that nearly 30 million couples in the country suffer from infertility, making the incidence rate of infertile couples at 10 per cent. A medical survey conducted in various cities in India revealed a shocking truth that rate of infertility is increasing in urban India. This is more among the IT professionals. According to the survey about 15 out of 100 couples from this sector faces infertility and 40% of such cases are related to male infertility.

Reason: Increasing infertility rates are based on the lifestyle changes resulting in stress and obesity caused by lack of physical exercise, changes in eating habits and pollution accompanied by medical disorders like diabetes.

This issue will soon reach unmanageable levels unless necessary interventions are made at the apt time.

Once, China was considered as the ‘Sick man of East Asia’ due to its unhealthy and inactive citizens. But, China changed its image and grown as a superpower with a series of serious initiatives in sports and physical education. Their initiatives not only improved the public health, but also their performance in major sports events such as Asian Games and Olympics and ensured better diplomatic relationships with various countries.

Like China, India needs to take series of serious initiatives in Sports and physical education to save its citizens from premature death and unhealthy living. These initiatives will surely make India a Sports Superpower. Our ministers are started talking about including sports in school curriculum. Good. Indian administrators took more than 50 years to understand the value of sports. But good indeed. Now, Indians are more conscious about health and using sports as a tool to prevent or manage lifestyle diseases. These elements will enhance the growth of different segments of sports industry such as school sports, physical education, fitness equipment and services, sports infrastructure and sports goods manufacturing.


‘Who cry the most when any country initiates workforce nationalization? Who else than Indians? A great sovereign republic we are, and having such a great platform it’s a pity to go on our knees behind other countries to save our future. Why can’t we employ our citizens?’ (From the book SPORTS CAREER by Dr Indulekha R)


We believe that the objective of the Indian education system is to create employees for foreign countries. Once Gulf countries, Europe and USA were the paradise for the Indian job seekers. But the scene changes. Decline in foreign jobs (new and existing) started reflected in our unemployment rate. “Unemployment in India is projected to increase from 17.7 million last year to 17.8 million in 2017 and 18 million next year. In percentage terms, unemployment rate will remain at 3.4 per cent in 2017-18,” 2017 World Employment and Social Outlook Report of the United Nations International Labour Organisation (ILO) says.

IT is overThe next wave of job losses is expected to happen in certain prominent industries, which gave maximum employment in past. Experts expect the three key industries— IT and IT enabled services, telecom and BFSI (banking and financial services) — to shed nearly 1.5 million white collar jobs in the 12-18 months. This trend has already begun.

What will Indian government do to tackle this unemployment issue? Requesting Donald Trump is not the solution. Government will be forced to create jobs in India. How?  Government will realize the significance of Sports industry soon. In developed countries such as USA, UK, Canada and Australia, sports is considered as one of the biggest industries. It is showering them billions of dollars and other supplementary benefits. American Sports industry is worth $422 billion and employs 1% of the population! Sports industry employs 1.5% of the population in UK and 4% in Australia. The case is not different with other developed countries. A good share of the population finds their daily bread from sports.508px-Sport_employment_as_a_share_of_total_employment,_2011_and_2015

ow many opportunities did our sports industry offer? The Ministry of Sports has not updated the data yet. Nowhere could we find an accurate data. It is approximately around 0.05% in India. Suppose if it becomes 1%, double the number of people could be employed. Sports industry provides not only job opportunities but health, happiness and a sort of empowerment. Giving due importance to the industry can cut down our health care expenditure as well.

The reason behind why our government neglects this industry that can offer immense possibilities in money-making and creating jobs is unknown. It is really fortunate that Indian Sports industry is growing without any specific policy support from our government. Indian Premier League, Indian Super League, Pro-kabaddi etc and private sports institutions like Tenvic, Edusports etc and Greenfield Stadium at Kariyavattom in Thiruvananthapuram are the best examples for the rising trend.


India ranked 122nd, behind terror-riven Pakistan and poorest-of-poor Nepal in the global list of the happiest countries, according to World Happiness Report 2017. Reasons are many. But solution, India must learn from Norway. Norway is the best in UN Human Development Index. Norway tops in the World Happiness Index. All because of their involvement in sports. Norway is the world’s best sporting nation. So sports is directly linked with overall human development and performance.

Bollywood and other regional film industries can’t make all Indians happy. The rising movie ticket price will make people unhappy. TV serials can’t make people happy. It will just add more stress on people. Sports events are going to be a great choice for entertainment in India. Whether, people involves in sports as players or spectators, it is going to accelerate the growth of sports industry in India.

Remember, if India fails to be a sporting superpower, it will be an economic superpower with dead citizens!


Many sporting clubs and sporting leagues are entering in India market. We believe that they are coming to India to support the sports development in India. No, they have just pure business interests. They want more television viewers for their games, more customers for their merchandise and more enrolments in their academies. Over, their interest in India is over. But, their entry generates new jobs in Indian sports industry. The franchisees they promote in India, promotes new business ventures in sports.


Our sports administrators used to blame cricket for the poor performance of other sports in India. It may be due to their constant imprecations, the glory of cricket is declining. The world cricket revolves around India. More and more cricket with limited number of international teams and IPL teams, makes cricket highly predictable, repetitive and boring. ISL has given new boost to Indian football. Olympics medals or notable individual achievements in Badminton, Wrestling, Tennis, Chess and Boxing attracts more people to these games. Cricket is also trying new ways to retain their supremacy.  Stakeholders of other sports are also started thinking about strategies to reach to more people and places. Good. It will create more and more business opportunities. Across India, we can see handful number of sports academies of different sports. Yes. Coaching business.


Years back, badminton was a commoner’s game. Less expensive and can be played anywhere. Now, badminton is an expensive game. A standard racket costs Rs.2500. Shoe costs the same. Apparels cost the same. What about the playground? Now most of us need an indoor wooden badminton court to play badminton, even if it is just for workout. What is the average hourly rental for your slot? Who created this scenario? Sports Engineering innovations. Take all the sports, the advanced sporting gears, modern sports infrastructure and innovative sports apparels make sports expensive and create new business opportunities. People have good disposable income and they are willing to spend it in sports for exercise, entertainment and for luxury. Going to an indoor badminton stadium wearing an exclusive sportswear with an expensive badminton racket in an expensive bicycle is a status symbol today. Sports engineering makes sports a real business. Use the opportunity.


It is not about self-reliance, but about Indian corporate Reliance Industries. They are very brilliant business people. They know well, where to dig to get money. Oil, telecom, football, basketball, table tennis and so on, they are digging deep to get money. They are backed by world’s first professional sports marketing company IMG. Great. We believe in copycat. At least some businesses or sports organizations will try to imitate Reliance, like IPL was imitated in the formation of other leagues. Even if others don’t imitate Reliance, they will involve in majority of sports. Great for the sports.


The people protest for Jallikkat and Kambala (bullock cart race) signals the return of heritage games in a big way. Most of the modern sports (Olympic sports and Cricket) were just street games/village games once. But, they got the status of modern games due to the conscious or unconscious efforts of some people or organizations. India was always poor in promoting Indian treasures. Scene is not different in sports. Prokabaddi took India’s heritage game Kabaddi to the next level. Professional tournaments of Goti shows the simple ways to transform a heritage sports to professional sport. Global media attention Jallikkat got recently will attract sponsors to Jallikkat. Good. Many Indian games are started thinking about revive themselves and some others are waiting for a savior to guide them to the land of prosperity. For the investors who think low investment-high return proposition, heritage sports is the best avenue.

Whether government supports sports with favorable policies or not, whether we invest in sports business in or not, Sports industry will grow in India in a rapid speed. We just need to decide, whether we want to be a part of it or just want to be spectators, who wonder what is happening.

Click to download & read the article in pdf format- Why Sports is the next big industry in India (PDF)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *