ET GBS 2023: Changing the game – How leagues are revolutionizing sport and empowering players

Indian cricket commentator and journalist Harsha Bhogle shared his insights on the “Business of Leagues” in a session moderated by actor Dalip Tahil as part of the ET Global Business Summit. Bhogle provided an overview of the immense growth and potential of leagues in the world of sports, particularly in India.

According to Bhogle, leagues are taking over the game of cricket. “We started with Test cricket, which was the father figure of cricket, then came the children with the 50-over and 20-over format.” He added that leagues are the next generation of cricket, giving a boost to young people who are now looking at cricket as a source of livelihood. He pointed out some “colossal figures” about cricket rights in leagues in the Indian market going for a whopping $6 billion, and the women’s league has already done 4669 Cr. This showcases the huge investment people are making in leagues in India, and this investment is driven by increasing interest in the sport.

Bhogle further highlighted the rise in popularity of women’s leagues. Three women cricketers are now in the top 10 earners in the cricket world, a statistic that one could only dream of until a while ago.

He reflected on the growth of sports in India from ill-equipped facilities and low-paid players to now highly-valued players and top-notch treatment for any sport. “What leagues are doing is putting players out in an open-market situation, allowing them to find a value in themselves”, he added.

BCCI has a lot of funds to support sports other than cricket as well, but Bhogle believes that private sector involvement in sports will further drive growth. With the increasing appetite for sports in India, investments in sports are bound to rise. He further stated that the best thing about the upcoming generation is that they are a multi-sports generation. They love cricket, football, badminton, kabaddi, and more. This rising interest and the advent of leagues are lifting families and providing financial stability for players.

Bhogle noted that leagues are not just game-changers in India. More and more countries are now dependent on leagues to finance them. Countries are reducing the number of longer-format sports to make space for leagues, providing a larger number of players with a chance to be in the limelight and make a living.

Bhogle concluded the conversation on a powerful note, emphasizing that sports have the ability to unite nations and bridge cultural divides. With the rapid emergence and success of leagues, this bridge is only getting stronger. The future of sports is bright, and there is no doubt that leagues will play an increasingly pivotal role in shaping this emerging landscape.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Economic Times – ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

Scroll to Top