Sporting Events that Catch the Most Attention in India
Here are the most popular sports events enjoyed in India.
India is a nation of sports fans and television brings people together, so televised sport is a natural combination. The most popular events with Indian sports fans attract huge audiences, and in some cases, there is global interest. Here are the most popular sports events enjoyed in India.
Cricket is one of India's most popular sports, and it's easy to see why. Cricket is extremely popular in India. Cricket has evolved into a sport that brings friends and family together to watch. Whenever a cricket match is broadcast on television, the entire country becomes engrossed, regardless of the time of day.
Indian interest in cricket peaks with the Indian Premier League. Every year, millions of fans tune in and as this Betway review shows, cricket, and the IPL in particular is one of the major drivers of the global betting economy. Every year, the Indian Premier League (IPL) records around 500-600 million views.
Kabbadi is a sport with a totally different international profile than cricket, yet it is extremely popular in India. The Pro Kabaddi Competition had a first-week viewership of roughly 10.1 million and has since grown to well over 400 million, making it the country's second most popular sports league behind the Indian Premier League. Kabaddi has experienced a big rebirth in recent years, and Indian fans can't get enough of it. Kabaddi is popular not only in India's big cities, but also in the country's rural areas. Many villages, in fact, participate in this sport.
Hockey was so popular in India that at one time it was regarded as the national game. As India’s international presence at the top level of hockey declined, partly due to the switch to artificial surfaces, interest in the sport declined. But that was before the launch of the Hockey Indian League.
The new league, which debuted in 2013, has been in hiatus since 2018, but in those years, helped to put hockey back on the map in India, drawing in tens of millions of fans, and the success of Indian teams at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics has further boosted support for hockey in the nation.
Football is the second most followed sport in India with some estimates suggesting that as many as a third of Indian sports fans follow the game and have their favourite teams. The last two World Cups, of 2014 and 2018, draw audiences of over 100 million and the Indian Super League (ISL) has become an integral part of the Indian sports landscape, registering 170 million viewers during its first season, with some games such as the Kolkota Derby, drawing enormous audiences.
It may surprise some to learn that motorsport and Formula One in particular, is huge in India. The audience for this international sport has grown steadily since the 2000s, boosted by the presence of the Force India team founded by Vijay Mallya. The Indian Grand Prix became part of the Formula One circuit from 2011 to 2013 and the sport retains a strong fanbase.