The 7 Most Popular Sports in India: India’s population accounts for over 1.3 billion which means that this is more than twice as many people living in the whole of Europe. The country’s unique history and diversified culture is reflected in its sports.
Let’s look at the top seven most popular sports in India.
We cannot start this list without mentioning the most popular sport in India…cricket! Cricket is loved all over the country by almost everyone! You will find it in schools, played casually in small groups, and also played professionally at International Test games against some of the best cricket players in the world. India has produced some of the best cricket players worldwide.
This comes to no surprise that cricket is also a well-loved sport at some of the best bookmakers in India like, the betting sites on this site.
Football or soccer is the second most popular sport in India. Although the India national team is not successful at an international level, the football team ranks at 96th place in FIFA rankings. In 2017, India organised the FIFA U-17 World Cup. Football is the second most watched game by Indian sports fans.
Badminton is the second most played sports in India after cricket. Managed by the Badminton Association of India, the country has achieved great success at an international level. Saina Nehwal, Indian ‘shuttler’ was ranked second in the world in 2010 while Prakash Padukone and Pullela Gopichand both won the All England Open in 1980 and 2001, respectively. Saina also won the bronze medal at the 2012 Olympics.
Kabaddi is a native sport in India and has been one of the most popular sports for centuries. The Pro Kabaddi League is the top competition in India, launching in 2014. The PKL attracts 435 million TV viewers, coming in second to the Indian Premier League with 552 million viewers.
The sport is one of the fastest growing sports in India. In just a year, from 2016 to 2017, the league managed to increase its viewership by nearly 100 million people. In fact, the PKL attracted more Indian viewers than the latest football World Cup.
Field hockey is often times seen as the national game of India. In fact, the Hockey India League belongs to the most followed major sports leagues in the country. The league was founded in 2013 and it consists of six teams with each of them playing 10 games during a two-month regular season, followed by play-offs.
Tennis has been a popular sport for a long time. In fact, India has done very well in doubles and mixed doubles category sections of the sport. Some of the most well-known players in India include Sania Mirza and Rohan Bopanna but also Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi. India tennis players have also earned their place in international tournaments in the last years.
Basketball can be seen played in India in high schools, universities, and colleges. It is mostly popular with the younger generation and played by both men and women of all ages and abilities. Rules and regulations about tournaments and championships all come from the FIBA International Basketball Federation.
Bonus Sport: Chess
We could not end the list without mentioning chess! Chess has risen in popularity especially in the last two decades due to Viswanathan Anand, the chess Grandmaster and former World Champion. Anand is now considered a hero by many Indians and his rise in the world of chess is an inspiration to young Indians who are interested to take up the game of chess professionally.