Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles as he looks back at his competition, whilst winning the 100-meter semi-final sprint, at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Bolt is regarded as the fastest human ever timed. He is the first person to hold both the 100-meter and 200-meter world records since fully automatic time became mandatory. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY - RTSYEQ5
Investment in sports is at an all-time high with the sector getting more inclusive. While people still worship cricket in the country, the popularisation of other sports such as kabaddi, badminton, wrestling, and even online and off-field ones like poker are attracting not just fans but also investments.
According to a recent report released at the TiE Delhi-NCR Sports and Fitness Summit, the three businesses comprising sports, fitness, and wellness in India are expected to post a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 17 percent to $90 billion by 2020.
The report says sports, fitness, and wellness is attracting investment not only from VC/PE but also from several profitable verticals like apparel, personal care, and consumer services who wish to ride this growth.
“People’s perception about sports have changed and it has become a lucrative career option for youngsters. Even parents have opened up to the idea of their children pursuing sports as a serious career option. Brand association has added the much-needed glamour and popularity to these new kinds of sports that are getting the limelight these days,” said Rajeev Kalambi, principal at Mauritius based PE firm FidelisWorld.
“Research says that the sports and entertainment industry is growing at 2 per cent more than the growth rate of the GDP," added Kalambi.
FidelisWorld has invested in multiple sports-related businesses in India which include Chennai-based company Techfront that manufactures LED screens for stadiums, Mumbai-based Sportz Interactive, NCR-based gaming hub Smaaash and sports gear manufacturer Wildcraft.
"FidelisWorld’s analysis indicates sports-related spending in our target investment region will grow at approximately 15 per cent CAGR," said Kalambi.
The report emphasises how sports, fitness and wellness industry is driven by increasing affluence, sedentary lifestyle, increasing awareness about fitness and development in sports infrastructure.
E-Sports is another area that has been growing significantly in the country. “E-sports is a $70 million industry in India but it is growing rapidly. There are countries like Korea and Japan where e-sport players are celebrities in themselves and we are steadily progressing towards an eco-system like that,” said Rajan R. Navani, Managing Director, and CEO at JetSynthesys. JetSynthesys is a digital entertainment and gaming that aims to digitally connect celebrities, brands and consumers and drive user engagement and monetization through personalization.
JetSynthesys is currently working to upgrade their mobile game Sachin Saga Cricket Champions that has over 5 million downloads. The game will soon have a virtual reality edition.
“In the virtual reality edition our aim is to bring to life, the 360 degree views of stadiums and an completely immersive experience with real-life motion captures by Sachin himself so one can set their pulse racing and experience the excitement of walking up and playing cricket with and as Sachin from centre of the pitch,” added Navani.