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History of the business of sports and fitness in India

The history of sports in India dates back to approx 6000 years ago but only in the recent years close to the mid 20th century, has the “business” in the field of sports and fitness been evolved. Since the global sports and fitness business sector is estimated to be worth between $480-620 billion, it also had an impact on the Indian market. According to recent stats, the business of sports and fitness industry in India reached up to $35 billion in the year 2016 while it is expected to reach $90 billion by the year 2022 with a magnificent growth of 17% CAGR. But what led to the tremendous growth and expansion of the Indian sports and fitness business industry lies in the history of its origin.

The origin

The origin of the business of sports and fitness in India dates back to the 20th century, when the extraordinary achievements in hockey led India to win six gold medals in the Olympics starting from 1928 to late 1960s.

With the massive popularity that hockey had just gained in India, a new kind of business started to evolve which was associated with sports and fitness. This market got a boost during the 80’s and the 90’s when cricket came in vogue after the Indian cricket team won the world cup in 1983 on a foreign ground. As players like Sachin Tendulkar and Kapil Dev became legends over time with a huge dedicated fan base, the then evolving market of sports and fitness took good advantage of this and took their help in advertising their products. And this led to the establishment of such a massive industry in today’s date.

Why it started

Sports and fitness alone is considered to be one of the largest revenue generating businesses all over the world. It is a billion dollar industry which in itself and has many sub branches. The sports and fitness sector involves several promising sub sectors. These different segments include sporting goods (manufacturing and retail), sports and fitness apparel industry, sports tourism and other opportunities in the field of sports management and sponsorships. Sports and fitness is considered as a full-fledged industry at a global level and is able to contribute to 1 to 5 percent of any country’s GDP. Also it enhances the revenue growth and the employment rate of a particular country which is quite essential for an overall growth and development of that place. And this is the reason why sports and fitness business started in our country at first place. Also with so many benefits that this industry has provided to the firms and the country, its enormous never-ending consumer demand is one of the sole reasons for the success of such a massive industry in a country like India which ranks second in population ranking worldwide.

The establishment of sports and fitness industry in India

While businesses in other fields were flourishing well in India, people weren’t really in the ‘mood’ to try their luck in the field of sports and fitness. But what eventually drove people towards it, was its worldwide flourishing business and the other numerous of benefits that came with it. Although the huge population of India was seen as a problem by many, some of the world’s leading global international corporations saw it as a nice opportunity to make maximum profit by selling their products in India. Since India has a huge population, it led to a variety of marketing options and unlimited costumers’ demand. This helped in escalating the business quickly as more and more products were manufactured and sold on a daily basis. With a response like that, our fellow Indian entrepreneurs too decided to take a dig at it and today India has both national and international sports and fitness businesses well established and flourishing.

How did the business of sports and fitness evolve?

At the beginning, the industry of sports and fitness was quite uneven and shapeless. It was largely messy and was in a desperate need of becoming an organized entity. The business of sports and fitness was not always considered a profit making business until the end of the 20th century. By then the mentality of people had changed a lot as so many people started to take initiatives in this field. Good revenue growth and promising market opportunities were the reasons that led to the evolution of a business like this with time. India has a huge market and thus it comes with a tremendous potential for the business of sports and fitness to evolve. Today in India, the total market of the sports and fitness industry is valued around Rs 4670 crore and is growing at 17-19 percent. Also modern retail is estimated at 28 percent of total market and is expected to grow even more.

The changes that came with time in the business of sports and fitness industry

The sports and fitness industry has come a long way from not being taken seriously by the investors to becoming the biggest investment sector in today’s date. There was a time when people did wrestling in ‘akhadas’ and now they are going for international Olympics. Earlier people didn’t care much about their looks and fitness regime, but today in the age of internet, where everything is up on social media, people have actually started to take their fitness and looks seriously. As a result, they are inclining towards gyms and other sports activities. This has opened up a wide scope for the business of sports and fitness industry to flourish. In older times people only needed sports goods like cricket bats, wickets, footballs etc. thus the manufacturing of goods was limited. But with time they chose to start going to gyms, which led to the development of gym business. Then came the social media where “looking good” was not a choice but a necessity. This led to the business of gym apparels including workout outfits to expensive shoes. Thus with time, body building training increased among men and aerobics and strength training amongst women.


In general, the history of sports and fitness business teaches us a lot about patience and smart long term planning. Without a long term vision and planning, no one could have ever been able to visualize the immense opportunities and the profits that this industry had in store for the future generations to come. And today the success of this business is solely dedicated to its strong historic evolution from being nothing to becoming the favorite global investment sector for the investors of today.

CREDIT: Better fitness for you

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