India Will Be The Next Sporting Capital (Here’s Why)

No joke…

If you want to create a billion-dollar sports company, you have a significantly greater chance of doing that in India compared to anywhere else in the world.


  • growing sports scene
  • huge increase in funding
  • talented congregation of developers
  • over 1.4B people (many who love cricket)

In 10 years, we’ll look back and be amazed at how much sports tech came out of India.

They use to lag behind the world — but thanks to the many developments we’ll explore in this briefing— they’ll be out in front soon.

Let’s Dive In 👇

On The Ground Indian Report

Sports in India are dominated by cricket with an estimated 90% of Indians following the sport.

sports in india

This has led to a huge increase in the valuations of Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises — with some now worth over $1B USD.

Many of the teams have investors from the US, including even notable athletes.

Rajasthan Royals ($200M Valuation)

Most other sports dwarf the size of the IPL…

However, team and individual sports such as field hockey, badminton, and kabaddi are continuing to attract young athletes, eyeballs, and revenues.

The upside and long-term potential of these sports are strong.


With 27.3% of its population aged between 15 and 29 years, India is among the youngest countries in the world.

india population
And the most populated country globally

The tech scene in India is flourishing:

  1. Major player in the global technology industry, with a thriving startup ecosystem and a large number of well-educated technology professionals.
  2. Home to a number of global technology companies — this has attracted foreign tech firms looking to tap into its vast talent pool.

And there are a handful of other advancements working in their favor…

India’s Digital Growth

Think about this…

India had 750 million smartphone users in 2021 — and it’s expected to reach 1 billion in the next few years.

smartphone users in india chart

India will also be the second-largest smartphone manufacturer in the next five years, according to a report from Deloitte.

Other areas positively impacting India’s growth:

  1. democratic style of government
  2. large (and growing) English-speaking population

And Indian athletes are starting to grow in recognition globally…

Indian Athletes in Business

We’re starting to see the model that American athletes made popular reach its way to India.

Last month, cricket star Shikhar Dhawan launched a $75M venture fund. (Several more funds with prominent players are set to be launched soon).

You thought Lebron James has influence…

Virat Kohli is the 4th most popular athlete in the world in terms of Instagram followers.

Lebron James self-labels himself as a “king” — Virat Kohli is a “god” to many Indians.

Conglomerates > Startups

A recent trend in sports is the rise of stock market for athlete platforms.

India is now getting one of its own.

A blockchain-based fantasy platform named Sportiqo has launched in India where users can invest or trade in players, just like stocks.

Not surprisingly, their CEO stated that “India and cricket is the market we really want to explore.”

*Idea for entrepreneurs – a way to spot talented Indian athletes at the grassroots level (maybe through AI)

Just like in the west, India has large 3-letter agency conglomerates.

JSW – a subsidiary of the $22B conglomerate, JSW Group

ITW – a part of ITW Consulting Private Limited

Interestingly, conglomerate models work even better in places like India.


They are a low-trust society.

This is why Dream Sports has become such a force in sports across India — people trust them.

Dream Sports subsidiaries

Their sports betting app, Dream 11, raised another funding round in 2021 at an $8B valuation.

On top of that, they launched a $250M sports tech fund, Dream Capital.

Here’s what’s interesting…

sports tech funding mumbai

Mumbai finished as the top city in terms of sports tech investment in 2021 by a large margin (mostly thanks to Dream 11).

How India Will Continue Growing

India went from almost no international sports presence to one of the largest hubs across the world.

indian cricket players

This has opened up employment across the country:

  • commentators
  • content creators
  • media personnel
  • unskilled workers
  • software engineers

India’s conversion into a global sports hub is beneficial for a huge segment of the population.

The global sports industry is estimated to be around $700 billion contributing around 1% of the world GDP.

But here’s where it gets interesting…

Sports contribute ~5% to the GDP in a lot of countries, whereas in India it contributes only 0.1% of the GDP.

Sports Technology Market Size graph

Adding to this, there are now over 15 domestic leagues in the country — up from just 2 leagues seven years ago.

India’s sports infrastructure, technology, and leagues are lagging behind the West (for the most part).

But interestingly…

They’re ahead of the curve in blockchain technology.

And India (thanks to its immense density of high-quality engineers) will be building what’s coming in the near future.

Fun times lie ahead 🥂

India Sports Podcast

Want to learn more about the growth of India?

Check out this podcast on India with Edward Fitzgibbon of Sports Rights Tech.

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