The last year has been an eventful one for Indian sports. While it has seen a number of positives and successes, its progress has been marred by a few acts of misappropriation and deceit.
However, with the cricket-crazy India embracing other sports, and better opportunities for the nation’s talented athletes, there is a lot to look forward to in the near future.
Here are the top 5 things worth watching out for in Indian sports in the upcoming year:
1. Franchise-based leagues and money in other sports
After years of step-motherly treatment meted out to Indian sports outside of cricket, many have started to see a potential for growth in other sports as well, both fiscally and in terms of talent.
After the success of the Indian Premier League, the likes of badminton and hockey have followed suit with similar models, with a good degree of success as well.
The Hockey India League, which saw international stars don the same colours as their Indian counterparts in a five-team event, played host to strong audiences and rave reviews, while the Indian Badminton League also picked up on the franchise-based structure to great effect.
Improved television distribution and broadcasting, along with the advent of social media have given these sports a much-needed fillip, allowing the burgeoning Indian middle class to gain easier access to sports that were hardly under the public eye previously. The athletes themselves have started earning amounts previously unheard of, with advertisers and investors flocking to win a slice of the pie.
With a similar football league around the corner, and more sports expected to cash-in on the format, India is slowly doing its best to dispel the misnomer about its ignorance towards anything not cricket.