top sports in india

India is a country that is rich in both history and unique culture. This has led to a variety of different sports being enjoyed and played – both in small villages dotted around the country and mainstream. But what are the most popular?


We’ve compiled a list of the top sports enjoyed in India. This list includes some sports which may surprise you. Sure, cricket is linked to the colonial roots of the country, but what about sports that have more traditional roots?


Read on to find out more!

1. Cricket


Cricket is easily the most loved and enjoyed sport in India. It’s held in such high regard that it’s become part of the culture of the nation and is often seen as its national sport. It’s this popularity that has also seen the rise of cricket betting.


The sport was first introduced to India when Britain ruled in the 1800s. Since then it’s been seen as a part of the history of the vibrant country. Still popular over 150 years after its introduction, the sport has spawned many national heroes.


The biggest cricket league in the country is the IPL (Indian Premier League). This competition was founded back in 2008 and is a professional cricket competition. Drawing in millions of spectators, this huge audience has helped the IPL brand be valued at a huge $6.7 billion!


The league itself is followed all over the country and is a huge contributor to the economy of the country. It’s calculated to have added over $160 million to the Gross Domestic Product of the country.


The Indian national cricket team is also a force to be reckoned with and has won some incredibly prestigious titles in the sport. These include the World Cup, the ICC World Twenty20 and the ICC Champions Cup. The team also has a rivalry with the Pakistan national team which leads to their games being some of the most-watched TV in the country!


2. Kabaddi


If you’re not native to India then you may never have heard of this sport. Kabaddi is native to the country of India and has been played for centuries. Kabaddi is a full-contact sport involving two teams and a small pitch, with the PKL (or Pro Kabaddi League) being started in 2014.


The league has seen meteoric success. The first season saw a whopping 435 million people watching it on TV – only second to the IPL we mentioned earlier.


Since it launched, the league has only gone from strength to strength. More people watched games in the KPL than watched football matches in the last World Cup! Kabaddi has also started to gain viewership in other parts of the world and attract lucrative sponsorship deals.


3. Football


Along with cricket, football was also introduced to the country during the British rule of the country. Whilst the love of cricket has seen India produce some of the best players in the world, the love of football hasn’t produced any prodigies (yet!).


The national team hasn’t achieved any major notoriety in the game having never participated in any FIFA World Cup. This hasn’t stopped the sport from becoming increasingly popular in the country though.


The country has two significant football leagues – the I-League and the ISL (or Indian Super League). Whilst the leagues represent the highest level of football in India, they aren’t as expansive as the British football leagues.


4. Badminton


Badminton is one of the most played sports in India – currently coming in second right after cricket. It’s also becoming increasingly popular to watch on TV. In terms of international success, the country has seen some of its players reach a high level in the sport. Both male and female players are within the top 10 BWF World Rankings.


The PBL (or Premier Badminton League) – India’s Badminton League – has slowly been gaining traction in terms of viewership. The viewership of the league has seen millions of new viewers every year as the sport garners more support.


5. Field Hockey


Last but not least comes another increasingly popular sport in India – Field Hockey. Yet another sport that was made popular during British rule in the 1850s.


The HLI (or Hockey League India) was started in 2013 and has quickly become one of the most-watched sports leagues in the country. It’s an interesting league, with 6 hockey teams battling it out over 10 games each. The season lasts two months and then there’s a playoff period which is watched by millions of supporters.


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