Union Budget Special: ‘1 lakh crore’ – A Breakdown of India’s Growing Sports Economy and a Sports-preneur’s Expectation


    As the much anticipated 2024 union budget comes close, everyone has some opinion or expectations. In the past year, PM Modi highlights ‘Youth Power’ as one of the seven priorities of the ‘Amrit Kaal’. And to build on that the government is heavily promoting sports across all levels (from school to professional).

    During the recent opening of the Khelo India Youth Games in Chennai, PM Modi stated that the approximate size of the Indian Sports Industry is close to INR 1 lakh Crore or Approximately 9 Billion USD.

    A breakdown of the 1 lakh crore industry

    Let’s look at the break up of this multi-billion industry. Prashant Joglekar of SportsBizNet gives us a breakdown of the industry:

    • USD 3 Billion: Cricket (BCCI, IPL franchisee teams, Sponsorships, Broadcasting
    • USD 4 Billion: Manufacturing (Domestic consumption and exports of sports goods)
    • USD 0.5 billion: SAI, Central government’s projects (Khelo India), and State government’s projects (Beach games, Kerela Sports Summit)
    • USD 1.5 billion: Sports services ( sports science and medicine ), sports infra technology services, fantasy apps and other sports leagues (Kabbadi, Kho Kho, Panja, Volleyball etc).

    A Sports-preneur’s Expectation From the Union Budget 2024

    In a recent interaction, Sports India Show got a chance to talk to one sports-preneur.
    Parvin Dabas, founder of Pro Panja League, talks about his expectations from the Union Budget. He said, “PM Modi’s vision of India hosting the Olympic games gives the whole industry a lot of assurance that the Sports economy has a solid future. The success of Khelo India is already a positive step in fulfilling the vision.”

    Union Budget 2024
    He talks about Panja and other indigenous sports, “Recently, I was involved in a discussion on ‘Bharat ke Khel’ (indigenous sports) at the ISSK 2024. Including smaller sports in Youth games and other national tournaments can open avenues for young athletes. It is an assurance from the government, a promise to support them in their pursuit of medals for the nation.”
    “We do events across the country and nurture 1000s of athletes. However, the lack of dedicated funds for local sports means that we have to rely on private sources (sponsors, participation fees, etc) for funding.
    So, my expectation is for a dedicated Grant/fund for Indian indigenous sports. In addition, GST exemptions should be there for the organization of local (amateur) events.”

    The next billion? What will drive the growth

    As the nation looks to expand its economy by a multifold, the real question is: What will drive this growth?

    A thorough analysis of the industry points toward the following as a key driver for the sports industry:

    Fantasy and gaming apps

    IPL’s grand success saw the rise of something which was unknown in India: Fantasy Sports. The product was a massive hit and now with multiple Unicorns jumping to get a share of the fantasy business it is only going to grow.

    The phenomenal has grown out of cricket and fantasy leagues are across every professional sport in the country.


    After fantasy, Cricket saw an insurgence of global betting companies trying to get a chunk of the market. Millions of dollars flew in the form of advertisement and sponsorship. And it is expected that once the legalities are sorted, this business will only grow.

    (NOTE: Regulatory bodies are yet to make a call on online betting.)

    Indigenous sports (Kabbadi, Kho Kho, Panja)

    The idea of a professional league outside of Cricket and football was unheard of up until Pro Kabaddi came in the picture. And the industry has not looked back ever since. The audience interest in local (indigenous) sports is growing at a rapid rate and many businesses are jumping to get a share of the pie.

    With money flowing in for broadcasting, sponsorship and surrogate advertisement this is one business that will drive the industry’s growth.

    NOTE: The government is only presenting an interim budget on 1st Feb. And the full budget will be presented at a later date after the 2024 general elections.