62% Indians say Cricket is not their top sporting choice
It’s bigger, bouncier and shinier
Football is slowly stealing away the country’s obsession with its mini competitor- the cricket ball. This fact revealed in the Piplsay survey comes as a welcome surprise in a nation that is obsessed with Cricket.
The pan India survey was conducted during the ongoing IPL festival and saw a strong participation of over 26,000 respondents. The fact that youngsters in the age group of 18-34 formed a major chunk of this respondent base makes these insights more interesting.
When asked about their sporting choice for kids, Cricket remained the top choice but for only 38% people. This shows that the gentleman’s game though extremely popular is no longer considered the only ‘safe’ option anymore
Chasing after cricket is Football, having taken a huge leap in its popularity especially post the Indian Super League. With big names in Bollywood, business and sports throwing their weight behind it, the football event is drumming up good support as well as a huge fan following.
The fact that preferences were spread across 24 different sports mentioned in the Piplsay survey shows that people are slowly opening up to other sports as well
One of the main reasons for this has been the wave of accomplishments of our sportspersons. More than 70% of our respondents agreed that these recent international successes have changed their perception about sporting career choice in India.
Achievements of players like Saina Nehwal, PV Sindhu, Sania Mirza, Leander Paes etc have already pushed Tennis and Badminton to the forefront.
Similarly, success in Hockey, Wrestling, Boxing, Kabbadi etc is inspiring many youngsters in small towns and villages to take up the sport. Though mostly perceived as grassroots sports, they have an increasing urban viewership which gives them the much-needed boost.
The Great Indian Hurdle race
When Piplsay asked people about the challenges hampering the growth of other sports, the responses underlined the need for a drastic change in our attitude and ways of functioning.
Though answers were distributed, lack of institutional support and recognition seemed to the biggest concerns for most respondents followed by excessive focus on Cricket.
Over the years we have seen ample examples of sportspersons being treated as second-class citizens, often left to fend for themselves. Be it Abhinav Bindra who was forced to bear the cost of his training or Dipa Karmakar who was denied a physio at Rio Olympics, our sports bodies have struggled to ensure a conducive environment for our sportspersons.
Surprisingly, lack of poor pay, once considered a big drawback seems to be less of a challenge.
This shift in the mindset could be attributed to two reasons. The growing number of competitive leagues with huge financial backing and international achievements that are leading to sponsorships and other forms of aid. Still, these benefits are limited to few sports.
Sports is no longer a male prerogative. Its popularity is extending to people of all ages and gender. This changing dynamic is also rewriting the fate of other sports as individual preferences and interests take center stage.
The Piplsay survey clearly shows that Indians are moving away from the tag of being a ‘cricket-only’ nation to a ‘multi-sports’ nation.
This is definitely a great sign for the future of sports in India