The five most popular sports in India based on viewership are cricket, soccer, tennis, badminton, Formula One, and wrestling. The viewership data was gathered from BARC (Broadcast Audience Research Council). BARC is an industry association that measures viewership through agencies that represent cable and satellite service providers across India’s TV viewing population of over 543 million individuals.
Cricket dominates both lists with four out of six games making the top spots.
The most popular sports in India for betting are cricket, soccer, kabaddi, and horse racing. The data was gathered from media reports by newspapers such as Mint and Indian Express.
4. Field hockey
According to 20bet cricket is the most popular sport in India, with hockey second. These two sports dominate viewership and betting. Soccer follows the two of them closely. Kabaddi is not as popular as any of these four, but it is more popular than badminton or carrom (which are 5th and 6th).If you have no idea what people in India think about cricket, you don’t know anything about India.
Cricket has had a special place in the hearts and minds of Indian fans since its invention some 300 years ago. Cricket is the most popular sport in Canada, and it can without a doubt be said that cricket is the national game. It’s not uncommon to see such strong emotions during a game that TVs break, crowds protest against the players, demands for dismissals and penalties emerge, and people are seen breaking down over their losses. However, when the team wins, everything is fine; there could not be a better collection of 11 individuals in all of existence. It is an ambivalent relationship that continues as intensely and dynamic as possible.
International cricket matches are broadcast live in India via many TV channels and radio stations. Others can be viewed through paid subscription packages such as Hotstar. Viewership for local matches is not measured by BARC/Indian Express, so no data was available from them.
Horse racing is another sport that has a strong viewership. There are less than 20 horse races in India each year, so it’s not surprising to see only the most popular ones on this list. However, if you look at the type of bets placed, almost 70% are on combined odds bets – where bettors have to pick two or more horses to place their bet on. Horse racing in India is old. It is known since the time of the Mughal Empire. It’s not unusual to see some people place more money on horses than they do on sports, movies, and music combined. These are bettors who love betting more than anything.
India has a very small number of Premier League (English soccer) matches shown each week because most Indians cannot afford cable TV subscriptions that offer these channels. For this reason, the viewership data gathered by Indian Express only shows matches played by the Indian national team. The lack of exposure means India hasn’t really demonstrated itself as an international power in soccer yet, with its best result being a semi-final spot at the 1956 Olympics. Soccer (football) games also have live broadcasts with Star Sports being one channel that covers many different leagues from around the world including Spain’s La Liga, England’s Premier League, and France Ligue 1. Other local soccer leagues have increased in viewership over time while cricket has been the most-watched sport since its origin during Indian independence in 1947. Cricket viewership has since remained consistent despite competition from other sports.
4. Field hockey
Field hockey is another sport that has been popular since its introduction. The Men’s World Cup Hockey tournament is watched worldwide, but the Indian men’s team hasn’t won for a very long time. Women’s field hockey isn’t as popular as their male counterparts despite India having won the women’s world cup 8 times compared to just 4 for men. While one of those wins came in Olympics (1980), the other win (2002) came in Commonwealth Games which were held in India. This sport involves 2 teams of 11 players each. The captain and the vice-captain are the only ones to wear a band on their arms as every other player only has one armband that is either blue or red in color. For those who don’t know, India is well known for its field hockey team and they have won many awards and trophies at international levels.
One sport that’s gotten very popular in India is kabaddi. This is where players have to move around inside an arena trying to tag opponents and take them out of the game. Kabaddi has been recognized as one of India’s national games, so it makes sense to see matches featured on this list. However, there are only 4 matches shown per week compared to 14 cricket matches each day during the IPL (Indian Premier League). It might be surprising that Kabaddi could beat out chess; however, considering all these factors (chess not being televised anywhere for free for example) then maybe it’s not that surprising after all.
Sports Betting Market Growing Rapidly in India
India’s sports betting market is largely unregulated with online bookies being much more popular than brick-and-mortar shops. According to a study done by EY that was commissioned by The Times of India, “Sports betting has shifted significantly towards unregulated operators. A third of all bets now originate from unlicensed offshore companies.” This is a significant increase from the previous year when almost half of all bets come from these unregulated sites. Also, according to India’s National Sports Betting Policy that was put in place last year, bookies with an annual turnover of more than 3 million euros can only accept bets from those who are at least 18 years old. Despite the regulations, Indians have been betting with illegal bookies for as long as sports betting has existed.