The sports sector is emerging as a hot investment segment in the Indian entrepreneurial scene. This industry has grown mainly due to the emergence of new sports leagues such IPL, Pro Kabaddi league, Indian Super League ,etc. “The Football Mind” is a Pune based football networking website which brings together football clubs, academies, players, coaches and fans on a single platform. It already has 5000 users, 500 clubs and 200 academies on its platform.
“Popularity is directly proportional to sponsorship and that helps any sports club or association grow,” said Pragnesh Krishnamurthy, an IIT graduate who is chief executive and co-founder of The Football Mind. “Football presents a $200 million (aboutRs 1,320 crore) opportunity in India”, he said, saying that the country has more than 25,000 professional clubs, three lakh players and 8.5 crore fans.
In a country like India where a large majority of the population is young, there’s plenty of room for sports startups to grow. “More people are taking to sports not only as future profession for young students but also as exercise for busy working professionals and even housewives,” said Bhusari, a former Asia number one in the under-14 category and first Association of Tennis Professionals ranker from Gujarat.
The Football Mind clocked over Rs 95 lakh in turnover in 2014-15. It has already organised two Asian ranking tournaments and about 10 national level tournaments. Tuhin Mishra, managing director of Baseline, a startup which deals in sports marketing and licensing, said ,“The overall sports industry in India has grown 10% from Rs 4,372.5 crore in 2013 toRs 4,806.9 crore in 2015”. “The global sports industry is growing faster than overall GDP and long-term prospects remain strong,” he said.
“We have grown from 10 schools in 2010 to 400 schools in five years,” said Saumil Majmudar, managing director and cofounder of EduSports, a SeedFund-funded startup. Its growth led it to being featured in the 14th edition of marketing guru Philip Kotler’s book ‘Marketing Management – a South Asia Perspective’ as a case study.
Bharati Jacob, managing partner of Seed-fund Advisors, an early stage venture capital firm, said, “We are always looking for scalable ventures and I believe sports-related ventures scale up well.” According to other venture fund experts, startups are set to cater to auxiliary sports services too.
Seed-fund has invested in two sports startups, Sportskeeda.com and EduSports.com.