Sport is a unifier. Sport is also a leveller. Sport is a field of passion and emotion like no other. According to a recent report, the global sports market reached a value of nearly $488.5 billion in 2018, having grown at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 4.3 percent since 2014, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 5.9 percent to nearly $614.1 billion by 2022. Sport is now considered as ‘the next big opportunity in India’ and contributes to 2 to 4 percentage of overall employment. Several new opportunities that have recently emerged include technical opportunities like sports science, nutrition and coaching, apart from the conventional roles of sports team management, marketing and communications.
The growth of any industry can safely be measured by the advertising dollars invested in it. According to ESP Properties, the revenue from sports advertising crossed the $1-billion mark in India in 2018. This was fuelled by the huge investment in cricket, most notably in the sponsorship deals. Vivo first broke the ice by investing a huge Rs 2,199 crore to be the title sponsor of Indian Premier League (IPL) in a five-year deal. However, cricket is not the only crowd puller when it comes to sports advertising. Of late, non-cricket sports have been successful in boosting their popularity. This includes badminton (PVL), badminton (PBL), and Wrestling. I spoke to former professional tennis player Mustafa Ghouse who represented India between 1996 and 2008 and is an Asian Games medallist to understand what the future of opportunities could look like in the world of sport. Currently Ghouse is the CEO of JSW Sports, an organisation committed to the development of professional sport in India. Ghouse also leads the team that has set up the Inspire Institute of Sport in Vijayanagar, a multi-sport high performance training centre for Indian athletes. As an athlete-turned-CEO, it was interesting and refreshing to hear what Ghouse had to say about the Future of Work in Indian sport.
Is there a Future of Work for sports and what will it look like?
It is safe to say that sport as an industry is only growing in India. The country is hosting more than just a few global sporting events and on the other hand, the number of leagues springing up shows intent. The government too is doing its bit to promote and develop sport across the country. What this also means is that there is a growing requirement for professionals outside of arenas, tracks and pitches. Sports management is no longer a niche. It’s a necessity.
How can athletes continue to be associated with sports and build a career (after they retire)?
Like I said, the levels of professionalism in sport in the country are only increasing and there is now the awareness of specific job roles within the sports industry. You don’t have people doubling up in areas that aren’t their expertise. Athletes, once they are past their playing days, come with the advantage of having experienced sport first hand at the ground level. The advantages of delving into the management side of things once you’ve played a sport are tremendous. However, one also needs to develop a strong business acumen apart from having the technical knowledge of how to run sporting entities.
Lessons that sports teaches you and management schools don't.
The list would be a rather long one, but I think some of the biggest lessons sport teaches you are how to deal with pressure, how to solve a problem and how to bounce back from defeat. No matter how many theories and case studies one laps up in B School, when faced with tough decision-making situations, we need to think on our feet and I feel sport teaches us how to best use our instinct and intuition to take quick decisions.
What are the opportunities available in sports today and how do you envision scale in sports?
There are several aspects one can consider for a career in sports. There are technical opportunities like sports science, nutrition and coaching. There are also management opportunities including marketing, sponsorships as well as event management. Athlete representation and administration are additional avenues one can explore and thrive in as former sportspersons. Like I said before, everyone around is recognising the need to employ professionals in every aspect of sport.
What are some of the dependencies in sports and how does one overcome them to create a long term career option -- what do you think can kill this industry?
We are in a position where we can only grow from. I don’t really see anything killing the industry. The fight is to get better with every passing year and season in sport. It is no secret that sport in India is growing exponentially. We have to get on the train. The key is to keep moving in the direction of progress and to keep learning from the best practises around the world. It is critical to take a long-term view, be patient and work with existing stakeholders to really be able to make a lasting and difference and have an impact.
Nisha Ramchandani is the principal author of 'The Future of Work' series.
Published Date: Aug 22, 2019 12:08 PM | Updated Date: Aug 22, 2019 01:08 PM IST