Thursday, September 15, 2016 / 1121
Sports and fitness have never been naturally associated with the people of the Indian sub-continent. While a small population of the country’s people is inclined towards sports and fitness, the majority of the population has only resorted to them when prescribed by their family physician. However, things are changing. The Indian people are enthusiastically partaking in sports and fitness to improve their health and well-being. When it comes to sports, cricket is still the most-watched sport; however, it no longer enjoys the unchallenged status that it once did. There are a number of sports and sports persons at its heels. While the IPL franchise has seen unprecedented success, sports like football, badmintion and kabaddi have also been successful in forming their own dedicated viewer bases.
Giving you a glimpse of the transformation that is slowly taking place is the fact that the opening week of India’s seminal football league, ISL (2014), got nearly 170 million viewers, with the opening day garnering 75 million viewers. For die-hard sports fans, there’s more. Kabaddi, India’s contribution to world sport, has gone one step ahead and pipped football. Numbers show it received relatively more viewers than ISL. Another fact to give you an overall idea that sports are slowly finding their way into the Indian life is that India is now the 11th biggest market for sports apparel and footwear in the world, with an estimated INR 400 billion being spent every year, growing at a rapid pace of ~30% YoY.
Gyms too have been a huge hit with the Indian people and have been sprouting in both the urban and rural locales of the country. Reports reveal that the fitness industry is expected to grow at 20% every year. All these facts and figure show not only a shift in priorities of the Indian people but also a change in their attitudes and lifestyles. And when there’s demand, there should be supply. Responding to the Indian population’s newfound hunger for sports and fitness are its entrepreneurs and start-up generation. We have listed below three of the most promising start-ups with novel offerings.
You can’t win a game with determination alone. Providing quality sports equipment and apparel is Sports365, a sports e-tailing firm. With fund support from sport bigwigs Mahesh Bhupathi and Yuvraj Singh, Sports365 has grown from 20 brands four years ago to 100 brands now. It’s success and ambition is reflected in its desire to double its revenues to around $11 million this year, up from $5-6 million last year. Sports365 employs 100 people who quit comfy jobs to pursue their passions.
While creating infrastructure and providing equipment and apparel is essential, it’s equally important to instill the spirit of sports in the young and impressionable. EduSports is a Bangalore-based company that has tied up with 500 schools to provide a sports curriculum that is in line with their educational system. Their efforts are focused in exposing the new generation to sports and to nurture their love into the next big thing. They work in more than 100 cities.
Launched in July 2015, Sportzify is a platofrm that connects sports-enthusiasts to different sports clubs in a city. Sports lovers can gain access to different sporting events, participate in sporting competitions and compete with each other to test their skills. The sports clubs in turn can manage all their bookings on a single platform and avail of detailed analytics. One can also buy sports merchanides. Sportzify is currently available in Bengaluru, Chennai, Goa, Delhi, Hyderabad, Kolkata, Mumbai and Pune.