Sports need industry status in India to achieve full potential

Will lead to a rise in investor confidence and access to funds.

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Sports need to be awarded industry status by the government to allow related businesses in the country to grow, according to experts. “For sports to sustain in India as a business, it is imperative that the nature of its ecosystem moves from a non-profit to a for-profit one,” according to a recent report published by KPMG and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

It said this would increase investor confidence and availability of capital for the sector, as well as generate more revenue streams to help leagues to become commercially successful.

Having industry status will allow companies operating in the sector to easily secure bank loans and this will lead to greater involvement from the private sector, as well as tax concessions, all under a proper regulatory framework.

Bollywood, for example, was granted industry status by the government only in 2001.

New sports leagues are being launched as the country starts to branch out beyond cricket. The Indian Super League (ISL) for football and the Pro Kabaddi League were launched last year. Such leagues could generate greater sports revenues for the country’s economy.

But the report stated that the “lack of an organised sports sector has inhibited for-profit ventures in sport”. These include franchisee training academies, merchandising, sports infrastructure, and sports careers.

Industry status could, for example, incentivise professionals to associate themselves with sports, because the greater availability of capital is likely to lead to higher renumeration, while policies on labour rights will help attract people into the sector too, the report said. At present, few graduates pursue a career in sports and sports-related businesses because of the lack of opportunities in the unorganised sector.

“Granting industry status could lend acknowledgement to the sector’s potential and also clearly define the components comprising the sports industry,” according to the report. “This, coupled with policy initiatives and regulations, could drive greater professionalism and hence increase investor confidence.”

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