India’s favourite sports

YouGov
March 21, 2012, 12:21 PM UTC

Cricket, tennis and football are the top three most followed sports in India, according to a new research

A new study entitled Sports India: Popularity and Participation of Sports in India 2012 and published by SMG Insight/YouGov, asked respondents what sports and events they follow and what sports they participate in on a regular basis.

Unsurprisingly, cricket, as India’s most revered sport, led the way with the majority of respondents following and/or playing cricket on a regular basis. 85% of respondents watch cricket, on TV or in the media, at least once a week and 62% play cricket at least four times a year.

Campbell Jamieson, General Manager – Commercial at the International Cricket Council says, “Cricket generates enormous audiences across all media platforms in India and dominates the region like no other sport. Our global partners recognise the unique power of the sport and its ability to captivate followers across all demographics in this fast growing country. The findings of this survey fully quantify India’s passion for the game, to a level beyond any other sport anywhere else in the world.”

Football and tennis

Though cricket remains the nation’s favourite sport, our research reveals that other sports, namely football and tennis are gaining popularity in India.

  • 44% of Indians follow tennis, either on TV or in the media, at least once a week - making it the second most followed sport in India
  • The Grand Slam tennis tournaments were watched by 33% 
  • Aside from all cricket competitions, the FIFA World Cup and the Hockey Asia Cup, the Grand Slam tournaments ranked next in the list of most popularly followed events.
  • Tennis is also participated by nearly a quarter of the population (23%), making it the sixth most participated sport in India

Mick Desmond, Commercial Director at AELTC says, “We are delighted with the results of this study - India is a hugely interesting market for The Championships Wimbledon right now.  Though there has always been a strong relationship between the two – owing to heritage and tradition; these results reveal the growing prominence and popularity of tennis in an emerging market - a prospect that we are extremely excited about.”

Football is followed by 41% of Indian respondents and participated by 22% - ranking it third and seventh respectively in the list of most participated and most followed sports.

Kushal Das, General Secretary at the AIFF (All India Football Federation) says, “Football continues to grow in popularity in India, though the interest remains focused on competitions such as the European Leagues and FIFA World Cup rather than local football. However, the AIFF has embarked upon a series of ambitious youth development programmes, backed by FIFA, which will help improve the profile as well as commercial viability of football in India over the next five to seven years. In addition to this, India is also bidding for the U/17 World Cup in 2017 – and if successful, could be a game changer; the potential of football in India is immense.”

Commenting on the report Frank Saez, Managing Director of SMG Insight adds: “This report shows that India, while mad for cricket in multiple forms and events, is emerging as a sports nation with interest spread across a range of activities and competitions. Indian sport faces an exciting future and SMG Insight/YouGov look forward to tracking and reporting on sports marketing trends across global markets”.

 

TOP 10 Favourite Sports in India

 

Participate

 

Follow

 

1

Cricket

62%

Cricket

85%

2

Badminton

51%

Tennis

44%

3

Swimming

30%

Football (soccer)

41%

4

Table tennis

25%

Badminton

32%

5

Cycling

24%

Motorsports

23%

6

Tennis

23%

Swimming

22%

7

Football (soccer)

22%

Table tennis

21%

8

Volleyball

16%

Boxing

16%

9

Basketball

15%

Basketball

15%

10

Go-karting

11%

Athletics

15%

 

TOP 10 Sports Events in India

 

Global Sports Events

 

1

Cricket: IPL

72%

2

Cricket: World Cup

67%

3

Cricket: ICC World Twenty20

61%

4

Cricket: International Twenty20 matches

56%

5

Cricket: ICC Champions League

55%

6

Cricket: Test cricket

53%

7

Football: FIFA World Cup

49%

8

Hockey: Asia Cup

38%

9

Tennis: Grand Slam tournaments

33%

10

Football: English Premier League

33%

Total sample size was 1,100 Indian adults

This report is the second in a series of geographical sport market research publications by SMG Insight/YouGov following the 2011 release of Popularity and Participation of Sport in the Middle East and North Africa, which is also available on request.

Pre-order the 'Sport India: Popularity and Participation of Sports in India 2012 Report' free of charge

See the full details and original Press Release here

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