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Top 10 most followed sports in India in 2024, ft Ormax Media

Published at :March 25, 2024 at 10:00 AM
Modified at :March 25, 2024 at 10:00 AM
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Manjit Verma

Kabaddi is among the top three most followed sports in the country.

Ormax Media, a renowned research and insights firm, has released its Sports Audience Report for 2024. The report provides an in-depth look at sports viewing habits in India, revealing a massive sports audience of 678 million. It offers detailed statistics on preferred sports and the lifestyle patterns of Indian sports enthusiasts.

Cricket leads as the nation’s favorite sport, boasting an unmatched following of 612 million fans. Football and Kabaddi also enjoy significant popularity, with audiences of 305 million and 208 million, respectively.

This study, conducted from November 2023 to January 2024, surveyed 12,000 individuals across India’s urban and rural areas. Its aim is to bridge the information gap in the sports entertainment sector, offering valuable insights for a range of stakeholders, including league and team owners, associations, broadcasters, and advertisers.

Ormax Media’s analysis on Indian sports fans’ viewing habits focuses mostly on the fans’ preferred teams and athletes across a variety of sports. Mumbai-based Ormax Media is India’s premiere specialized media analytics and consulting company that provides strategic solutions to businesses in many enterprises of India’s media and entertainment industries.

Take a look at the most followed sports in India according to the Ormax Sports Audience Report 2024.

10 most followed sports in India

1. Cricket

Indian Cricket Team
Indian Cricket Team (Courtesy: The Economic Times)

With an impressive audience of approximately 612 million, cricket solidifies its status as the preeminent sport in India. Former Indian captain Virat Kohli remains the most favoured player, with the legendary MS Dhoni following closely. The Chennai Super Kings (CSK), a leading team in the Indian Premier League (IPL), further exemplifies cricket’s supremacy in the nation.

2. Football

Manchester United
Manchester United is one of the most followed teams in India (Courtesy: Stretty News)

Despite being overshadowed by cricket, football has witnessed a significant surge in popularity, now captivating an audience of 305 million. The inception of the Indian Super League (ISL) in 2014 markedly increased the sport’s appeal and reach among fans.

Club football, particularly the English Premier League, has amassed a substantial fan base in India. The hosting of the U-17 FIFA World Cup has solidified football’s position among India’s most-watched sports.

3. Kabaddi

Puneri Paltan
Pro Kabaddi League has soared Kabaddi’s viewership in the country (Courtesy: Onmanorama)

While football is the second most-followed sport with an Indian audience of 305 million, kabaddi ranks third in viewership with over 280 million. The Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) has played a pivotal role in elevating the sport’s profile, with season 10 setting new viewership records. The league’s success underscores kabaddi’s cultural significance in India.

4. WWE/Wrestling

WWE has huge following in India (Courtesy: Wrestling Observer)

Wrestling, attracting 163 million viewers, stands as the fourth most popular sport. India’s prominence in wrestling is evident, with the country securing five Olympic medals in the sport’s history. This achievement attests to wrestling’s deep cultural roots and the local populace’s passion for it.

5. Hockey

Indian Men's Hockey Team
Indian hockey teams’ success will engage better audience (Courtesy: Hockey India)

Despite being India’s national sport, hockey ranks fifth in popularity with 154 million viewers. However, the sport experienced a notable 10% increase in viewership in 2021, indicating a resurgence of interest and engagement among its fans.

6. Badminton

Indian Women's Badminton Team After Winning Badminton Asia Team Championships
Indian badminton keeps hitting new heights each year (Courtesy: BAI)

Badminton, the sixth most-watched sport in India with 145 million viewers, has been gaining traction. The sport’s television-friendly nature and the international successes of Indian players are key factors in its growing appeal. Saina Nehwal and PV Sindhu’s Olympic medals as well as the Thomas Cup triumph of the Indian men’s team, has contributed to rise in popularity of the sport in the country.

Moreover, Satwik-Chirag’s success and the most recent Badminton Asia Team Championships victory of the women’s team will only help in continuing that growth.

7. Athletics

Neeraj Chopra
Javelin superstar Neeraj Chopra has huge following among the masses (Courtesy: The Financial Express)

Athletics enjoys popularity among 126 million people, ranking seventh in India’s sports landscape. Norman Pritchard’s silver medals at the 1900 Paris Olympics marked the beginning of India’s Olympic journey. Since then, Indian athletes have amassed a total of 35 medals in the Summer Games. Recent achievements, such as Neeraj Chopra’s gold medal in the javelin throw at the 2020 Olympics, have reignited Indian viewers’ interest in athletics.

8. Volleyball

Calicut Heroes Prime Volleyball League 2024
Prime Volleyball League has helped in the growth of volleyball (Courtesy: Rupay Prime Volleyball League)

Although not as successful on the global stage, volleyball remains a favourite for 108 million people in India. The launch of the Prime Volleyball League, featuring top international and domestic players, has injected new vitality into the sport. India’s consistent participation in events like the South Asian Games demonstrates the country’s commitment to improvement, despite the men’s team’s failure to qualify for the Olympics.

9. Boxing

Mary Kom
Mary Kom enjoys huge following across the country (Courtesy: The Economic Times)

Boxing, ranking ninth with 107 million enthusiasts, is showing a steady rise in popularity among viewers. Vijender Singh’s bronze medal at the 2008 Olympics was a landmark achievement for Indian boxing, later matched by the successes of Mary Kom and Lovlina Borgohain. Despite constraints such as limited infrastructure and promotion, Indian boxers continue to impress on the world stage. In states like Haryana, the sport’s popularity is soaring.

10. Car Racing

Formula 1 F1
Formula One also has a decent following in India (Courtesy: F1)

Car racing occupies the final viewers spot with 97 million fans. Formula 1, the top tier car racing sport, has a huge following in the country with several F1 stars such as Lewis Hamilton and Sergio Perez among celebrated figures. The Netflix show titled—Drive To Survive—has also helped in the growth of motorsports in India.

The Indian government is also making attempts to tap into that following by hosting the MotoGP Bharat race in Greater Noida. Previously, Formula 1 race, The Indian Grand Prix, was also held for three years between 2011-2013 but was later cancelled due to tax issues. F1 could return to India in the future.

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