Sports in India is now a full time industry

Sports in India is now a full time industry

By Hemanshu Chaturvedi | 15 October, 2016
Asian Games, Commonwealth Games, sports industry, World Kabbadi World Cup

Despite organizing two major events like Asian Games and Commonwealth Games, not much has changed the sports industry in our country, both in terms of business technically and socially. Sports is still not considered as a priority when it comes to set a business venture or a lucrative career, although the hopes have been raised by League organizers. With latest data sports in India is a $ 7 billion industry but is yet to be recognized by government officially as an ‘Industry’.

All developing countries in the world are rated on the basis of the infrastructure they prove to the society in all aspects and sports and entertainment play a major role in it. The progress chart of country is scaled by the international achievement of that particular country at the international level and that can only be achieved by creating world class infrastructure. 

The industry of sports evolves and revolves around the facilities we have for international events and largely such facilities are created by local self governments under pressure for organizing events which in longer run have proved to be ‘White elephants’. In India during the recent CWG we had allocations by the governments for upgrading the facilities which were created for Asian Games, the  amount spend on refurbishing the facilities was under question from the word go because it was believed that new facilities could have come up for that amount. 

The investment  of this magnitude into infrastructure partnering  the government should be a way forward for sports to earn a tag of ‘Industry status.

 The ongoing World Kabbadi World Cup captured my attention especially the newly constructed seven story urban multi purpose Sports Complex in the city of Ahmedabad. The project is the first PPP of India. The facility is truly outstanding and is termed as the biggest one in Asia. The hard work behind this dream come true was executed by TransStadiaArena Company founded and promoted by young entrepreneur Udit Sheth. The journey of the project is a way forward for Indian sports, the pioneer project of which will give confidence to other players to enter this space and start thinking about sports as a serious business then just a activity. 

The journey of the project started with the company writing randomly to all governments to create world class infrastructure to promote sports The quickest to respond was the state of Gujarat which invited the company for a professional presentation by our Prime Minister who was then the Chief Minister. The MOU was signed during the Vibrant Gujarat Summit in 2009 and the company was asked to submit a detailed project report. 

The project report was run through twice by the Cabinet committee to ensure no hurdles came on way for the completion of this maiden project. The intent specified the cost and timeline which was the essence of the project. Finally the land was handed over to the company in mid of 2013 and the construction was started in Feb 2014. The total cost of the project is Rs. 536 crores which includes everything. 

The facilities includes a football field with a seating capacity of 25000 people along with indoor swimming pool; tennis courts; volleyball and basketball playing facilities, “ the idea is to see the stadia occupied for all 365 days’ said Udit Sheth.

This outstanding facility created by TransStadia can be way forward for our authorities to start thinking seriously on the Design, Built, Finance, Own, Operate and Transfer (DBFOOT) basis. The idea was floated during the Commonwealth Games but for reasons well know was not implemented and a sum of Rs 2460 crores were spend out of government coffers without any thought about the future. 

The cost incurred for the Multi Games world class Patented technology is just Rs. 536 crores after 6 years of CWG  with a option to organize host events not only of sports but of entertainment too. The facility is going to be used for coaching and fitness purpose for the citizen of the town on a regular basis. The facility can also be an ‘earning member’ rather than a liability for the authority, the management of the facilities can be of world class which always is a challenge for our governments. 

On speaking to Mr. Sheth he confirmed that a part of ‘Top line revenue’ will shared with the government and the unique part is that the earnings will be infused back for developing sports in the state. The model is so full proof that the authorities only have a win-win situation as the entire funding is done by the company. This partnership can have few more inputs and can be a game changer in the field of sports in India.

The investment  of this magnitude into infrastructure partnering  the government should be a way forward for sports to earn a tag of ‘Industry status’ and a mention in the list of profession in all major documents be it government or private, not like today where the people of sports industry have to mention themselves in ‘others’    

The columnist is a sports guru

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