A study has revealed which sport enjoys the most viewership in the country.

Ormax Media recently released a research report on the sports base in India. The study sets the number of sports fans in the country at 136.3m, which is roughly 13.63 crores. The media consulting firm took a sample size of 12,000 fans across rural and urban areas, that were active viewers of multiple sports on either TV or OTT platforms.

It is not a huge surprise to see cricket emerge as the most popular sport with the highest viewership. The sport is regarded as a religion in the country after all. However, the staggering number of fans that follow the sport in comparison to others is a revealing outcome. 

The founder and CEO of Ormax Media, Shailesh Kapoor said in regard to the report, “Through this report, we aim to fill in the need gap for reliable data on the size and the profile of the ‘real’ sports fans, who are actively watching and engaged with the sport. The report can provide useful material to sports leagues, teams and broadcasters for their brand and communication strategy initiatives.” 

The study lists 10 sports and the number of fans they have. Here is the list of sports with the most fans across different media platforms:

10. Table Tennis – 4.1m

Table tennis is slowly getting more attention amongst the Indian crowd. Players like Manika Batra and Sharath Kamal have popularized the game through their performances at the Olympics and other international meets. It rakes in viewership of 4.1m across all platforms.

9. Hockey – 5.8m

Hockey is a very popular sport but needs more work in terms of marketing, as it has numbers of fans at 5.8m. The achievements of the Indian men’s and women’s teams deserve more recognition.

The Indian men’s team bagged the bronze after nearly four decades and the women’s team secured a record fourth-place finish at the recent Tokyo Olympics.

8. Volleyball – 7.6m

Prime Volleyball League
Prime Volleyball League was a big success in India (Courtesy- PVL)

Volleyball is an entertaining sport to watch as it is fast-paced and extremely competitive. The Prime Volleyball League is a major source of the 7.6m viewership that the sport enjoys. The Volleyball Federation of India is working toward making the sport more accessible to the general viewer.

7. Boxing – 8.7m

Boxing is highly entertaining and enjoys a huge fanbase of 8.7m in India. The country has produced several boxing greats such as Vijender Singh and Mary Kom. During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, Lovlina Borgohain won the bronze and achievements like those attract a lot of viewership.

6. Athletics – 9.4m

Athletics, in general, is very popular as it includes several events like javelin throw, hurdles, sprinting, shot put and so on. Neeraj Chopra created history recently by winning India’s first-ever athletics gold at the Olympics in Tokyo.

He bagged gold in the javelin throw, which also motivated India’s paralympic athletes to secure multiple medals. A fanbase of 9.4m will certainly increase in the future.

5. Badminton – 11.5m

Heading into the top five sports, there is badminton at the fifth spot with 11.5m fans. There are several notable stars in the sport that are making the country proud on the international stage.

PV Sindhu bagged a bronze at the Tokyo Olympics and Lakshya Sen has been in incredible form, winning medals at the BWF World Championships and the All England Open.

4. Football – 23.4 million

ATK Mohun Bagan vs Blue Star Ratings
ATK Mohun Bagan plays in the ISL (Courtesy-ISL)

Football is played by a huge number of Indians, as it ranks among the top four choices of sports by the people in the country.

In terms of the fanbase, it attracts a total of 23.4m people across TV and OTT platforms. Competitions like the Indian Super League, Premier League, La Liga and so on are very popular amongst Indians.

3. WWE/Wrestling – 26.5 million

WWE/wrestling has a huge fanbase of 26.5m in India. Wrestling as a sport has a strong base in India. Several notable athletes like Ravi Kumar and Bajrang Punia lead the pack and have a large fan-following.

There is also an impressive crowd of people that regularly follow the WWE, that includes popular wrestlers like Brock Lesnar, John Cena, Roman Reigns and so on. 

2. Kabaddi – 28.5m

Kabaddi is a very popular sport that is played across India and has a base of 28.5m fans. In recent years, through the Pro Kabaddi League, the sport has seen a major rise in followers.

The franchise-based premier competition for kabaddi attracts a lot of fans through multiple media platforms. Today, kabaddi stars like Naveen Kumar, Pawan Sehrawat and more are household names.

1. Cricket – 124.2m

Cricket is the undisputed leader when it comes to having the largest fanbase in India. It has 124.2m fans, more than any other sport by a considerable margin.

The Indian Premier League is massively popular and houses the best domestic and international cricketers. The Chennai Super Kings are also the biggest sports franchise in India, with a fanbase of 40.9m. 

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