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    Top 5 Most Important Sports In India

    Published on January 5, 2022

    Sport is a general language that is spoken all across the globe. Even though the athletic spirit lives in every nation, not every country has the same sport preferences. Due to culture, availability, and tradition, not every sport is equally popular in different parts of the world.

    In today’s article, we will focus on India. With over 1.3 billion people, India is the second most populated country in the world, and a huge economic superpower. However, India also has a significant impact on sports.

    Thanks to India’s rich tradition and diversified culture, there are large varieties of mainstream and local sports that are liked by its inhabitants. But which sport is the most popular in India?

    1. Cricket

    Not surprisingly, cricket is the most loved and played sport in India and constitutes a large part of the country’s sports culture. The sport was introduced during the British rule of India and quickly spread its roots in the country’s history and tradition.

    The most heated competition and pro-league in the country are the Indian Premier League (IPL), funded in 2008, and since then it is the most-attended cricket league in the world. The IPL is constructed of 8 professional teams, where the average salary of a professional cricket player is around $4.33 per year.

    The brand value of the Indian Premier League alone was estimated at around $7 billion in 2019, and according to BCCI, the league contributed over $160 million to the GDP of India.

    2. Kabaddi

    Here we have a local discipline that is very familiar to the Indian subcontinent and has been one of the most popular sports in the country for centuries. For first-timers, this might look like an aggressive wrestling sport, but to Indians, it is the most favorite sporting event to watch with more than 335 million TV viewers.

    This has been the fastest-growing discipline in India, and in just one year, managed to increase its viewership by 100 million people, which is truly incredible. Just as a comparison, their Pro Kabaddi League has attracted more Indian viewers than the last football World Cup.

    3. Football

    The world’s most popular sport, football (soccer) is India’s third favorite discipline that was introduced during the British colonial period. However, even though the sport is extremely popular in the country, we still haven’t seen some success with their football efforts.

    For instance, India has never participated in the World Cup, although the country was invited to take part in 1950, but backed out. The legend suggests that Indians refused to participate because they were not allowed to play barefoot.

    If we put the lack of international success aside, football remains still one of the most followed sporting disciplines in India and is highly popular as a spectator sport.

    The most popular leagues are the Indian Super League (ISL) and I-League that represent the top competition in the country.

    Lately, American football has also started to gained some following in India and they have started a national league. You can learn more about American football and the NFL here: edge.twinspires.com/nfl/nfl-free-picks-expert-predictions/

    4. Badminton

    When it comes to play-time, badminton is the second most played sport in India. But the situation is different when we acknowledge the overall impact of the sport and its TV viewership.

    On top of that, India has produced some incredibly talented badminton players that reached international success, such as, Srikanth Kidambi, Saina Nehwal, and Pusarla Venkata Sindhu.

    In the past couple of years, the popularity of badminton significantly increased. Their most prestigious Premier Badminton League experienced a jump in viewership from 42 million to 155 million in one year.

    5. Field Hockey

    Since ice hockey is out of the question due to high temperatures and unfamiliar terrain, India has field hockey which is also one of the most popular sports in the country. Their most competitive league Hockey India League (HIL) funded in 2013 has reached incredible success over the past couple of years.

    The league currently has six teams each of them playing 10 games during their short two-month regular season, followed by the highly anticipated play-offs.