Cricket has always been India’s favorite sport since the 1970s. Football too appeals to a huge section of sports enthusiasts while Kabaddi and Badminton have of late made its ways to every India’s bucket list of sports to watch. In a recent survey by Mumbai-based media consulting firm Ormax Media, cricket still tops the leaderboard when it comes to viewership numbers. About 136.3 million people account for cricket’s fanbase in India, and thereby the contest of bat and ball is significantly ahead of other sports. Football, Kabaddi, and Wrestling are the next in line in the race, with 23-28 million each.
The firm conducted the study over a 6-month span from July to December 2021 on a sample pool of 12,000 people across cities, towns, and villages of the country. The criterion for defining a person as a fan of a particular sport was to watch that sport live for more than 30 mins in a month.
CSK’s fanbase expanded further, post 2021 triumph
India’s first sports unicorn, Chennai Super Kings enjoys the biggest fan base amongst all franchises of IPL. Around 40.9 million fans constituted the entire strength, and the figure was significantly higher compared to the reports of 2020 when the entire fanbase comprised close to 26.8 million fans.
In the list of most popular sports stars of India, Argentinian football legend Lionel Messi tops the charts with close to 3.9 million fans. His rival from Portugal, Cristiano Ronaldo also features in the top 10. India’s very own badminton maverick PV Sindhu is the only shuttler in the top 10. The rest of the names are all superstars from the world of cricket.
A complete study of India’s most preferred medium to watch sports
An interesting trend was reported when it comes to India’s most preferred medium to watch sports. While 44% of Indian sports fans consume sports only on TV, a substantial 36 % opts for both TV and OTT platforms to watch live matches. The remaining 20% exclusively tunes in to streaming platforms to watch the live-action.
“Viewership numbers, especially from television, are not an accurate representation of the fanbase of any sport, as India is predominantly a single-TV nation where a lot of sports viewing is passive in nature. Through this report, we aim to fill in the need gap for reliable data on the size and the profile of the ‘real’ sports fans, who are actively watching and engaged with the sport.”Shailesh Kapoor, Founder & CEO of Ormax Media stated
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