Upcoming leagues have helped unleash potential for Sports Business: FICCI report

MUMBAI: While a number of sports leagues have been launched in India recently, the sports industry is still in its infancy stage which can be exploited not only by commercially viable large leagues but also other businesses of sports like events, academies, elite and other coaching institutes, niche sports science backup services and so on according to FICCI’s recent report on the sports business titled - Business of Sports Aiming Higher Reaching Further. The main purpose according to the body for coming up with report was to look briefly at the sports industry and make some predictions in the upcoming decade.

According to FICCI president Sidharth Birla, the business of sports worldwide has not just been restricted to the playing of sports but it now encompasses a variety of firms covering a wide spectrum of domains. 

“Although it is still in a nascent stage in India, its potential has truly been unleashed by the growing number of innovate start-ups in this field. The need of the hour is to increase individual's interest and rope in private investments in the sports industry, which is almost immaterial” he added.

The paper was released by Sports secretary Ajit M Sharan of the Youth Affairs and Sports Ministry who opined that the private sector would have to  participate and partner with the government and the apex chamber to promote sports in the country.

The report says that the Indian Sports Industry runs parallel with the growth of the country’s economy and 4.3 million people would be required in the Indian Sports Industry as workforce by 2025.

FICCI Sports committee chairman and Tata Metaliks MD Sanjeev Paul, speaking about the report, said, “FICCI has taken up the responsibilities to bridge the knowledge gap to aid the Sports Business development in India and to share the real time and up to date information about ongoing initiatives in sports.”

While elaborating on the ongoing Hero Indian Super League (ISL), the paper says the league will provide Indian football fans the opportunity to witness some of the world’s best on home soil, inject much needed energy into the domestic game, improve football infrastructure and raise the commercial value of the sport in the country. 

For the ISL, each franchise has been bought for a period of ten years at a cost ranging from Rs 130 crore to Rs 160 crore. Although financials are confidential, the central pool of the ISL is expected to be in the $ 10million to $ 15 million per year range. To further boost and increase revenue franchises have the right to independently procure team sponsors, and the rights to merchandising.

The report also mentions about the investment by four different broadcasters in India for various different sports properties. It says that MSM’s Sony Six has currently invested $ 3.2 billion in broadcast rights for properties such as The Pepsi IPL, UEFA EURO 2016, qualifiers

for EURO-2016, European qualifier for 2018 FIFA World Cup, 2018 FIFA World Cup, TNA, Australian Open Tennis Championships, The NBA and The Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).

Star Sports India has currently invested $ 242 million for ICC Events, International Premier Tennis League, FIH Event, Summer Olympic Games, Formula one, FIFA Confederation Cup, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers (AFC), AFC Champion Leagues, La Liga, Premier League, Seria A, FA Cup, ISL, Wimbledon etc.

Taj Television’s Ten Sports will invest a little over $ 100 million (Rs 600 crore) in the Indian sporting-related entertainment market, according to sources. Some of its properties include US Open, The Commonwealth Games, Moto GP, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Super Cup, Federation Cup, German Cup, Major League Soccer and Golf, Chennai Open among others.

Nimbus Communications’ Neo Prime and Neo Sports has invested $ 2 million for International Cricket in Bangladesh, Sultan Azlan Shah Cup, Copa America, Rugby World Cup, Bundesliga, UEFA Women’s Championship and Davis Cup.

Highlighting the role played by the government, it says that the Government of India will be opening 70 sports academies in coming ten years in 18 sports disciplines. It is estimated that the Government of India will spend Rs 90 crore per academy. The allocation for the sports and youth affairs ministry for 2014-2015 saw a rise of Rs 561.24 crore, a 46.5 per cent hike from the last fiscal with the government.

In its concluding remarks the report notes that the future seems bright for Indian Sports as it is set to become one of the largest economies of the world by the year 2025 as per projections made by internationally consultants and IMF. Many investors and corporate companies around the world have stepped up in order to take advantage of the growth opportunities offered by Indian markets and many others are keeping a close eye on the subcontinent for investments in coming years.

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