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Badminton emerges as second-most played sport in India

Dev Sukumar
EXPERT COLUMNIST
News
4.40K   //    12 Apr 2012, 13:23 IST

Saina Nehwal's international successes have helped pushed badminton into the forefront

Badminton has emerged the second most participated sport in India, according to a new report published by UK-based sports consulting firm SMG Insight, in association with research agency YouGuv. The report, titled ‘Popularity and Participation of Sports in India 2012’, lists badminton behind cricket in the sports that most Indians play regularly. In terms of following, badminton was ranked No.4 behind cricket, tennis and football.

While cricket was the runaway leader both in participation and following, with 62% and 85% respectively, 51% respondents favoured badminton as the sport they played most regularly, while 32% said they followed the same. Further details on the profile and size of the samples selected are awaited.

SMG Insight describes itself as giving “B2B and B2C research and consulting solutions for world leading sports governing bodies, sponsors and sports investors in order to meet their strategic and business objectives”, while YouGuv states that it is “an international, full service market research agency offering added value consultancy”.

Understandably, the report highlights the importance of cricket in the Indian context. It says: “India is arguably the biggest sports market in the world with a 1.2 billion population and a long established sports culture founded on its love of cricket. While cricket’s leading position has been solidified in recent years with the astonishing success of the Indian Premier League (IPL), events such as the 2010 Commonwealth Games and inaugural Indian Formula One Grand Prix in 2011 have put the country on the business of sports world stage. This report details the essential information on participation and following in major sports and events by the Indian population. Cricket remains huge but there is extensive interest across a range of sports offering the sports industry and brands the opportunity to access this fast growing market.”

The report assesses the participation and following of the top sports and the following for the top sports events by the Indian population, including analysis by age, income and gender.

Commenting on the report Frank Saez, Managing Director of SMG Insight / YouGov was quoted as saying: “This report shows that India, while mad for cricket in multiple forms and events, is emerging as a sports nation with interest spread across a range of activities and competitions. Indian sport faces an exciting future.”

India’s favourite sports
(Participation)
1.   Cricket 62%
2.   Badminton 51%
3.   Swimming 30%
4.   Table Tennis 25%
5.   Cycling 24%
6.   Tennis 23%
7.   Football 22%
8.   Volleyball 16%
9.   Basketball 15%
10. Go-karting 11%

(Following)
1.   Cricket 85%
2.   Tennis 44%
3.   Football 41%
4.   Badminton 32%
5.   Motorsport 23%
6.   Swimming 22%
7.   Table Tennis 21%
8.   Boxing 16%
9.   Basketball 15%
10. Athletics 15%

Dev Sukumar
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Dev S Sukumar is the recipient of the Badminton World Federation (BWF) Media Award, 2011. He is India's most widely travelled badminton writer, having covered several international tournaments, including the Olympics, the Asian Games, the CWG Games, World Championships, the All England, the Denmark Open, the Malaysia Open, etc. He has covered badminton for over ten years now. During this period he has met fascinating characters, witnessed great matches, and has authored a biography of Indian badminton great Prakash Padukone. He has written on the game for several publications, including Sports Illustrated, Mint, Badminton Asia magazine, The New Indian Express, Hindustan Times, DNA and IANS. He tweets at twitter.com/shuttlemania
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