Over the past decade, there have been a plethora of changes in the sporting world, especially in India. The rise of new digital platforms and technologies has added an absolutely new dimension in how sport is perceived as today. The same has brought about abundant opportunities for businesses to exploit. The advent of various leagues across various disciplines like the pro-Kabaddi league, the Indian Super League etc. is a testimony to how sports other than cricket have also started to draw the interest of the corporate houses.
Sport is a major contributor to the GDPs of almost all developed and developing nations. Together with associated businesses like Sports manufacturing, retail, media etc. the sporting industry across the globe is estimated to be around a whopping $650 Billion.
With proper marketing and strategy driven benefits, sports can achieve new heights in India. Let us analyse the case of Pro-kabaddi league. Kabaddi is a sport that is indigenous to India and is played mostly in rural India. Despite India being a consistent performer in events like the Kabaddi World Cup, the Asian Games and the SAF Games, kabaddi had never managed to evoke nationwide interest. The advent of pro-kabaddi league in 2014 has taken the popularity of the sport to an entirely new level. The marketing strategies (borrowed from the IPL) implemented by the organisers have hit the bull’s eye. The same has not only reaped rewards for the sport and the investors alike, but has also given the competing athletes their due opportunity to come out of the obscurity they were living in.
When compared to global sports powerhouses, India is light years behind. The reasons being issues like a dysfunctional talent hunting system, faulty infrastructure, negligence from the authorities, absence of sports education etc. There’s a huge gap that is needed to be bridged. The platform is there, all that’s needed is building a strong structure upon it. Going by the current trend, we are heading towards the right direction and it may not be long before we actually see our sportsmen doing wonders on the big stage.
CSR is one such tool which can help Indian sports in this regard. It’s up to the corporate houses to step up and lead the way. Significant corporate houses have even started to do their bit.
It has been a great beginning, but there’s still a long way to go. Do we have the capacity to overcome all the adversities we are facing today? Yes, it might take a bit of time but there’s no denying that India are adept enough to be a sporting powerhouse. It’s only about time.