Business of Sports

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FICCI Sports

We tend to look at sports as just that a sport. But do we realize there is a burgeoning industry in India around sports and many opportunities to be explored? There are lots of activities happening around a couple of sports that are minting money, and I know Cricket and to an extent, Tennis comes to mind. What about so many other sports? What about so many potential sportspersons? What about talent hunting and talent grooming just like the way it is done for other professions? What about sports event management? What about sports-related content? What about building communities more often called clubs around sports and running them? What about building infrastructure for sports in non-metros? What about creating centers of excellence for every possible sport in the country? Think of the cascading impact it would have on the entertainment industry, manufacturing industry, and fitness industry? Think of the wellness quotient that is bound to go up. Think about the potential it holds for the tourism industry.

Haryana is a state that we know only for its agriculture, but this is one state that has put its focus on sports. I read through its sports policy and its focus on making each district a center of excellence in one sport. It talks about systematic identification of talent in schools, followed by a planned nurturing of talent that includes providing the right training and nutrition, providing ample opportunities for them to showcase their talent and providing employment to sportspersons who excel in their field. The result is there for us to see. The state is already producing medal winners in boxing and wrestling in international events including Olympics. The representation of the state in international teams is very high compared to its population percentage in the country. It is not a mere coincidence that all award-winning boxers come from a small town called Bhiwani. If you look at their backgrounds, none of them come from affluent backgrounds that could afford training or even the kind of food requirements these professionals have. It is because Bhiwani happens to be Boxing CoE for the state of Haryana and these sportsmen are a result of the policy implementation by the state. I am keeping my fingers crossed for the rest of the sports as well.

Haryana has a round-the-year sports calendar that has sports events right from block level to national levels that are publicly published encouraging participation. Play for India initiatives encourages every student to take up a sport with the aim to represent India in that field. Sports infrastructure has been built with sports nurseries and stadiums at districts and blocks. Apart from the government machinery, they are actively engaging school staff, parents, and local bodies like panchayats to take up this cause and own it.  Incentives for the achievers and performers are defined. A few star performers today inspire many more to take up sports as a profession.

This is an area that requires huge public-private partnerships to tap the huge potential that sports hold for the youth of the country as a passion, profession, and industry with a supporting eco-system.

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