The Most Popular Sports in India16/02/2021 22:35
India is the second most populated country on the globe with over 1 billion citizens. Therefore, it’s no surprise that there’s a lot of diversity in all aspects of life. However, when it comes to sports, India is truly surprising. There are very few countries on the planet that don’t see football as the main sport and this one is on that list as well. We invite you to discover the main sports that Indians love to watch and play, as well as the sports that draw the most attention from punters in the country.
For our readers that already have some consistent knowledge about sports in India, this won’t come as a surprise. Cricket is the king of sports in the country, period. There’s no other sport out there that can compete with cricket, not even football. Even more than that, the success of the IPL – the Indian Premier League – has boosted cricket’s popularity across the globe. Even though the Indian professional cricket league was established in 2008, it enjoyed amazing success right from the start.
Nowadays, the IPL was evaluated at around $7 billion and the sport and league contribute considerably to the country’s economy. Millions of sports enthusiasts watch and place bets on cricket in India. And while the IPL is the star of the show, international cricket is also very big in India. The Indian national cricket team won the 2011 Cricket World Cup and the ICC Champions Trophy in 2013. India vs Pakistan is the fixture that gets record audiences on Indian televisions.
This entry may come as a surprise for most readers since Kabaddi is basically unknown outside of India. However, this Indian subcontinent native sport has been one of the most popular disciplines. The PKL – Pro Kabaddi League was established in 2014 and is the main domestic competition for the sport. If you still doubt kabaddi’s popularity, lean that the first season of the league attracted around 450 million TV viewers (while the IPL got 552 million).
Kabaddi grew with amazing speed and the Pro Kabaddi League season of 2018 attracted more TV viewers in India than the 2018 football World Cup taking place the same year. Sponsorship deals are booming and players’ salaries follow the same trend, a situation that could help popularize Kabaddi worldwide as well.
Football fans out there are probably yelling “Finally!” right now. Indeed, while there are other countries where football is not the top sport, this popular discipline is always second-best everywhere. However, just because football comes in on the third position in the top of sports popularity among Indians, it doesn’t mean it’s any less attractive. Actually, Indians love football so much that they have two separate leagues – the ISL and i-League. Furthermore, online football betting in India competes with crickets for the first position in the number of bets placed by local punters.
One of the reasons why football isn’t more popular in India could be the lack of results coming from clubs or national football teams. Actually, as a fun fact, India never took part in a World Cup tournament. Even though they qualified for the 1950 edition in Brazil, the authorities decided to withdraw the team from the competition due to the expenses involved to get the staff there. However, plans are made to merge the two football leagues and create a more competitive setting for football in India. Therefore, we could expect to see more results soon, both in the AFC Champions League, and for the national team.
These are the top three sports in India when talking about audiences and popularity among punters. The list could go on with other disciplines that Indians love, such as Badminton, or field hockey. Both at a domestic and international level, Indian teams are getting great results in clashes and their popularity is booming.