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As per current trends, India’s sporting landscape is witnessing a shift, with a growing affinity for diverse sports beyond cricket. Kabaddi, Football, Badminton, and various other sports are also capturing the nation’s love and attention. This has resulted in an unprecedented viewership, participation, and sports-related industry boom. This has translated into new business opportunities for investors that are looking at the Indian market, right from brand building to infrastructure to emerging technologies, to niche entrepreneurial ventures and services. However, one of the biggest drivers of this “Sports Revolution” in India, is the sports manufacturing industry.
India’s amicable economic climate, a rise in disposable incomes, and changing outlook toward fitness are powering the rise in demand for sports-related goods and services. The favorable business climate generated by various efforts by the government such as Make in India, and the manufacturing industries is suddenly very optimistic in the country. From sporting equipment to apparel, India’s prowess in manufacturing brings forth a wave of innovation, quality, and style.
Investment opportunities in the sports industry are spread across the entire supply chain that includes the manufacturing, retailing, and advertising, of the equipment and apparel.
Indian Sports Industry’s Growth Drivers
The Indian government has specifically focused on developing the country’s sports sector with a view of creating jobs, generating revenue, and consequently attracting investment into the country, aside from nurturing sports talent. According to Statista, revenue in the Sports Equipment segment amounts to US$17.30bn in 2023. The market is expected to grow annually by 7.97% (CAGR 2023-2027).
The government of India has raised the fund for Khelo India—the National Program for Development of Sports in India— by more than 65%, from Rs 600 crore in FY23 to Rs 1,000 crore in FY24.
This is the single most important factor why sports equipment consumption in India is expected to increase manifold in the coming years.
Current Scenario of India’s Sports Equipment Manufacturing
At the moment, as much as around 60 percent of all of India’s sports equipment manufactured here is exported, according to All India Sports Goods Manufacturers Federation. This is especially true with international retail brands like Umbro, Lotto, and Wilson.
Value of sports goods exported from India between the financial year 2015 and 2022
In fiscal year 2022, the export value of sports goods amounted to nearly 546 million U.S. dollars compared to the previous year’s approximately 176 million dollars.
India is a labor-intensive economy and this is exactly what provides innumerable opportunities for sports equipment manufacturing firms looking to set up in the country.
Speaking numerically, over 500,000 people are currently employed by the sports retail and manufacturing sector alone, with further potential to rise.
Sports manufacturing is primarily concentrated near the north Indian states of Punjab and Uttar Pradesh whereas others like West Bengal, Gujarat, and Tamil Nadu are catching up fast. The federal government, under the ‘Make in India’ scheme, is also providing various tax and location-based incentives for manufacturers.
Case Study: Meerut
Meerut can be safely considered the flag bearer for sports equipment manufacturing. It is already famous as the world’s manufacturing hub for top-quality cricket gear. However, the North Indian city is trying to diversify from this tag to accommodate other fields such as athletics, fitness, gym, and other high-end equipment. The city has supplied shot puts and javelins in various prestigious competitions such as the 2018 Jakarta Asian Games.
Today, Meerut plays host to over 15 top brands in the sports equipment market, including sportswear or equipment related to weightlifting, table tennis, gymnastics, fitness, and weight training. The Uttar Pradesh city alone contributes to around 45% of India’s sports equipment export market. The Meerut industry collectively employs over 25,000 workers, according to industry estimates.
The Emergence of Private Leagues
Over the years, sports has proved to be a solid and pure entertainer when it comes to fan engagement. As a result, in the last decade or so, India has witnessed a boom in the development of major private sporting leagues.
The trend that was started by Indian Premier League in cricket soon spread to other sports as well with Indian Super League (football), Premier Badminton League, Pro Kabaddi League, etc.
These leagues not only grew in size over the years, but their fan following expanded as well. A swollen fan base is a marker of two things- first a promising future for sports and second, an increase in revenue through allied sources. And indeed, one of those sources is merchandise sales.
Thus, the mainstream sub-sectors such as manufacturing and promotion are bound to snowball due to an ever-increasing demand for quality sporting goods.
Famous Sports Manufactuing Companies in India
- Nike India
- Adidas India
- PUMA India
- Reebok India
- SG (Sanspareils Greenlands)
- Yonex India
- Cosco India
- Nivia Sports
- Shiv Naresh Sports
- Stag International
The increasing presence of the private sector is aptly shaping investment as well as collaborative practices in the Indian sports sector. Established Foreign organizations like Vivo, Nike, Nivia, and Adidas are investing heavily in niche sports like Kabaddi, Football, and Hockey through funding and sponsorships. This goes a long way in leveraging brand recognition and advertising opportunities.
This is the best time for future investors looking to enter the Indian sports market, especially the sports equipment manufacturing industry, with favorable federal policies, audience, and economic climate making for a low-risk proposition.
Also Read | Top 10 Highest-Paying Sports Jobs in India
The sports manufacturing industry reaps the rewards of diverse revenue sources, encompassing equipment, apparel, footwear, and accessories. With global sports participation on the rise, the increasing demand for top-notch and inventive products generates a favorable market climate.
Prior to making an investment, it is essential to evaluate market trends, competition, consumer needs, and potential profitability. By conducting thorough research, seeking expert guidance, and developing a well-defined investment strategy, you can greatly enhance your prospects for success in this dynamic industry.
Fueled by continuous innovation, technological progress, and evolving consumer tastes, the industry thrives. Investing in this dynamic sector enables you to seize opportunities in the expanding market, leverage emerging trends, and harness the global reach of the sports industry.
India is home to renowned sports manufacturing giants such as Nike India, Adidas India, PUMA India, Reebok India, SG, Yonex India, Cosco India, Nivia Sports, Shiv Naresh Sports, Stag International, etc.