Chennai Super Kings had emerged as the biggest sports franchise in India with 40.9 Million fans and its loyal fan base of 22.5 Million people is almost the same as the entire fan base of the sport of Football in India. Media consulting firm Ormax Media announced the release of its research report on the sports category, titled We, The Sports Fans of India. The report is the outcome of consumer research conducted over the six-month period from July to December 2021. The research is based on a sample size of 12,000 people across urban and rural India.
The report pegs India’s sports fan base at 136.3 Million, or 13.63 Crore, people. A fan has been defined as someone who watched live sports on TV or OTT in the last month for at least 30 mins. as an active viewer. Cricket leads with 124.2 Million fans. Kabaddi, Wrestling (including WWE) and Football are in a close contest for the second position, with 23-28 Million fans each. The report profiles these fans by gender, age, NCCS, pop strata and states.
The report also looks at the various Football leagues and their fan following. Lionel Messi’s erstwhile team Barcelona FC tops the list with 3.9 Million fans. Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi feature in the list of the 10 most popular sportspersons in India. The list includes seven cricketers and Badminton star PV Sindhu, besides the two Football superstars.
In the section on viewing behaviour, the report looks at the TV vs. Digital consumption of sports. While 44% Indian sports fans watch live sports only on TV, a sizeable 36% are using both traditional and digital media to watch live sports, while the remaining 20% are watching exclusively on Digital. The report also covers the preferred commentary languages in India, reported by various geographies and demographics.
Speaking about the report, Shailesh Kapoor, Founder & CEO, Ormax Media, said: “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. The report can provide useful material to sports leagues, teams and broadcasters for their brand and communication strategy initiatives”.
In an insightful section titled ‘Active Sports Players in India’, the report estimates that 317.8 Million (about 23% of India’s population) Indians are playing at least one outdoor sport actively in their life currently. While Cricket, Football and Badminton take the top 3 positions as the most played sports in India, Volleyball and Kho Kho feature also prominently in the list too, with 56 Million and 19 Million active players respectively.