What are the most popular sports in India?

The sports industry is extremely popular with individuals gathering all over the world to watch sports events and matches. Most recent events include the Superbowl and the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Some sports seem to be universally loved whereas others seem to be popular only in some countries. It appears that a country’s culture, traditions, and history can really impact the popularity of a sport.

This article will focus on India and the sports that resonate the most within this beautiful country. A list of the most popular sports will be given, followed by a short description of each sport and some of the potential reasons behind its popularity in India.

1. Cricket

Cricket is undoubtedly the most popular sport in India. It is also the most played sport.

It was introduced in India by the British during the 17th and 18th centuries. It first appeared in the Indian subcontinent before spreading to other parts of India. 

The game was first played by the Indian elite. It still remains an elitist game but is slowly becoming more accessible to players of all social classes.

The Indian National Cricket Team, which also goes under the name Team India or Men in Blue, was established in the 20th century and played its first international match in 1932. However, the first cricket club in India was established much earlier, back in 1792.

There are some famous cricket star players in India that help boost even further the popularity of the sport. These stars include Sachin Tendulkar, Anil Kumble, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and MS Dhoni, among others.

India is known for being one of the best cricket playing nations in the world. It has won the Cricket World Cup twice which also explains why the game is so popular within the country.

2. Kabaddi

Kabaddi is a sport that was invented in India, more specifically in the Indian subcontinent. It is known as a contact team sport, inspired by the traditional Jallikattu event in which a group of individuals attempt to grab and hang on to a bull as it runs and jumps around.

Kabaddi is played by two teams each made up of seven players. Each team is positioned on one side of the court.

One player on offense will run towards the opposite side of the court and attempt to touch as many players as possible of the opposing team. They will then have to run back to their side of the court without being tackled by opposing team members.

These are just the first basic rules but there are a few more rules to the game. Kabaddi is extremely popular in India and has been part of the Asian Games programme since 1990.

There is a Kabaddi World Cup that has only been won by India. Other countries who play Kabaddi and took part in the world cup include Malaysia and Iran.

India has recently established a Pro Kabaddi League in 2014 to help market the game and spread it to new continents.

Other popular sports in India include:

  1. Football
  2. Badminton
  3. Field Hockey

These games were mostly brought to India by the British and soon became popular in the country. World Cups and global events have contributed to their success and appeal.

As for field hockey, it is an alternative version of ice hockey. Ice hockey is costly and difficult to play in India which is why field hockey is played instead.

With field hockey, teams play on grass, on a field (usually synthetic), on different types of turfs (watered or artificial), or on an indoor boarded surface.

Sports fans love for sports betting

Along with the popularity of these sports, is the growing popularity of sports betting. Sports fans love watching games and attending sports-related events but what makes sports even more exciting are the bets placed behind them.

Betting on sports games gives fans the opportunity to raise the stakes and get more involved in the game. Betting is both thrilling and entertaining.

Individuals either bet in-person, with each other, or online via gambling providers. The demand for gambling sites is so important that many affiliate sites now exist to help customers compare different gambling providers.

These affiliate sites help fans stay safe as they place their online bets. They can also use these affiliate sites to learn about the best deals and offers currently available from gambling providers.

The demand for gambling providers is particularly high when a major sports event or international competition is underway. Those interested in sports betting should therefore look for a provider well in advance to make sure they find a good offer and place their bets early on.

Final thoughts

This article discussed some of the most popular sports in India. These games include Cricket and Kabbadi, two sports in which India excels.

These sports are expected to rise in popularity over the next few years with the possibility of seeing Kabbadi exported to Europe and the United States.

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