Even as 90% of India watches cricket, Indian Premier League in terms of fan following remains the third most popular sports competition in the country.
A survey by Ampere Analysis reveals ICC World Cup to be the most popular sports competition in the country, followed by the ICC World T20. A majority of 74% of the survey respondents follow the ICC World Cup, which comes every four years, with the more shorter version T20 World Cup having 67% followers in the country. Next comes the IPL with the 59% vote.
Interestingly though Pro Kabaddi League is the only other Indian sport competition to figure in the top 10 list – in the last position – of the most followed sports events in India. More fans follow tennis Grand Slams than the FIFA World Cup, the most popular sports competition in the world.
After cricket, the majority of 40% Indian sports fans follows the Wimbledon Championships with the US Open (37%) and the Australian Open (34%) coming next. FIFA World Cup (34%) though separates the French Open (also 34%) from the other three Grand Slams on percentile points.
Source: Ampere Analysis
Among sports disciplines, too, tennis remains in the No. 2 position behind cricket in the country with 53% followers. The success of the likes of Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu and Kidambi Srikanth has propelled badminton’s fan following to 49%. Surprisingly, badminton remains more popular in India than in China, the global powerhouse for the shuttle sport.
The comparative study of the Indian and Chinese sports base reveals that while cricket with 5% follower base remains the least followed sport in the country the majority 68% follow basketball and football with 66% comes next.
Source: Ampere Analysis
India has the highest interest in sports across all countries, with more than half the respondents (53 percent) saying they enjoy watching sports. Of the 20 markets surveyed, the average comes in at 41 percent.
However, the Indian sports fans are not very fond of their domestic competitions. Apart from the IPL, Pro Kabaddi League is the only domestic competition that has made the top 10 of the most followed sports events in the country.
Although European football leagues, including the English Premier League, Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and Germany’s Bundesliga are popular, none of them make the top 10 in India.
The FIFA World Cup is the only football event to make the list. Football’s quadrennial showpiece comes ranks with 34 percent.
Indian respondents showed the highest relative interest in sport of any of the 20 markets surveyed in this research (41 per cent on average across all markets). More than half (53 per cent) of respondents enjoy watching sport. Chinese respondents are at the other end of the spectrum with only 32 per cent indicating that they like to watch sport. Soccer is the most popular sport for the vast majority of survey respondents.
Analysts have also revealed that slightly older Indian sports fans are slightly older than the national average and have a higher income, making the country an attractive market for sports rights owners and media players alike.