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7 most loved sports in India in 2022

Some sports, like cricket, flourished because of the country's colonial past, while others, like kabaddi, have deeper roots in the local culture. You'll find the top 7 here.

7 most loved sports in India in 2022
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A cricket ball (Source: Unsplash)

By

The Bridge Desk

Updated: 29 Dec 2022 6:43 AM GMT

Some sports, like cricket, flourished because of the country's colonial past, while others, like kabaddi, have deeper roots in the local culture. You'll find the top 7 here.

Cricket

Cricket is the national pastime and most watched sporting event in India. India's is unparalleled compared to the exciting cricket received in other countries. Although Brazil and Argentina are dedicated football supporters, India's massive cricket following gives the East a slight edge. The sustained popularity of cricket mainly depends on India's performance, in addition to the regular transmission and promotion of matches by premier sports networks.

Since the 1983 World Cup, India has regularly been challenged for cricket's ultimate prize, the Champions Trophy. The huge sponsorship deals that cricketers consistently land help keep cricket and its stars in the public eye. In a society that places a premium on fame and elite status, cricket players enjoy widespread adulation. Cricket in India has a promising future with Virat Kohli at the helm of a new generation of players.

Field Hockey

India's national sport, hockey, has yet to achieve the same level of success it had in the 1980s and 1990s. India's hockey team, coached by Dhyan Chand, won eight unprecedented Olympic gold medals, making them world champions. Indian players, who had hitherto played on natural grass fields, struggled to adapt to the new rules, which included using an artificial playing surface.

Even as countries like Australia, the Netherlands, and Germany gradually overtook India in hockey, the federation's continual infighting led to the eventual downfall of Indian hockey. Since then, fewer people have been interested in playing hockey. Although there are brief periods when the hockey landscape looks rebounding, the sport's vast systemic challenges consistently drag it down. Hockey in India is a major sport. Hence the country has its league modeled after the Indian Premier League.

Football

Football is the most played sport globally, and India needs to catch up. It's a sport that has also become part of the eSports industry. Most sports betting events, like https://betshah.com, have football events.

Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter called India the "sleeping powerhouse" of world football because of how many people visit the country to watch games.

While the Indian Super League (ISL) does have a sizeable fan base, the popularity of football in India stems from the huge audience for European club competitions. There is now the 105th-best football team in the world from India.

European football's massive fan base in India's leading cities has helped keep the sport's momentum going strong. As one of India's premier sports competitions, the Premier League draws huge crowds every season.

As a direct result of the efforts of European football authorities, there is now a new generation of Indians who follow the games of the best clubs in Europe's four major leagues (England, Spain, Germany, and Italy). Following European clubs' footsteps, India now has its football competition, the Indian Soccer League (ISL). About 160 million people watched the competition's first season in 2014.

Kabaddi

Kabaddi has regained its status as India's most popular sport after falling to the third position a few years ago, behind badminton and hockey, among others.

It was a pleasant surprise when the Pro-Kabaddi League began holding tournaments in multiple cities across India every year. Now, kabaddi is once again one of India's most famous traditional sports. In 2014, the PKL overtook the Indian Super League regarding viewership in India (IPL). Kabaddi has a solid fan base and a pool of interested sponsors, putting it in a prime position to attract more viewers in rural areas thanks to the sport's undeniable allure and the steady influx of new fans eager to learn more about it.

Right now, the best kabaddi teams in the world are from India and Iran. India dominated the Kabaddi world championships until 2017.

Tennis

There is a sizable tennis following in India, as tennis is one of the most well-liked sports on a global scale. Despite our lack of singles success, India has a rich tradition of producing world-class doubles players.

However, India is leaning on these two myths. The Indian tennis scene is in dire need of experienced players in the wake of Bhupathi's retirement a few years ago and Paes's advancing age. With Somdev Devvarman's departure a few months ago, India now has only two seasoned professionals—Rohan Bopanna and Sania Mirza—on the ATP tour. So that more people in India will watch tennis, Mahesh Bhupathi established the International Premier Tennis League in 2014. Indian Aces, Japan Warriors, Singapore Slammers, and United Arab Emirates Royals are the four teams that make up the tournament. The league successfully promoted tennis stars like Roger Federer and Pete Sampras. The Singapore Slammers have more league titles than any other squad.

Motorsports

As a result, the number of Indians interested in motorsports has increased dramatically. Formula One's popularity as the most-watched racing series in the world is mainly responsible for this shift.

However, Narain's inability to finish in the top three throughout his time with Jordan was primarily down to the team's inferior machinery compared to the competition's. In 2011, when he signed with HRT Formula One, Karun Chandhok became only the second Indian driver to compete in the Formula One championship. After a series of mishaps, the backup driver took over.

The 2017 season was the team's best: they placed fourth and set a new single-season scoring record with 187 points. India has a Moto GP team, Mahindra Racing, and a Formula One team. Rally driver Gaurav Gill is another motorsports ambassador for India. Gill is a famous rally driver.

Basketball

Basketball is one of India's most popular sports, yet it is shocking to see Indian players competing internationally. India's national basketball team has achieved some international success in recent years.


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