The history of sports in India dates back to the vedic era and many of today’s Olympic disciplines are sophisticated version of the games of strength & speed that flourished in ancient India. Being a country with such great history & value for sports, the perspective and importance given to it has gone down over the years.
Nation’s effort to promote Sports
Our country’s enormous population bewilders people, and so does its disproportionate lack of success at the International sporting arena. One of the main reasons for India’s slow growth in the sporting world is the lack of financial support, encouragement and training facilities for aspiring talents. No matter how talented or focused an athlete is, without training and financial support one cannot pursue their dreams or find opportunities to prove their caliber. At this stage, sponsorships can help in identifying talent and nurture them at every stage with personal training and support.
Importance of Corporate Funding
It is strongly believed that corporate funding in Indian sports might be the right solution to ignite sports development in India. It helps talented aspirants and sportsmen in getting the right amount of professional & financial support to reach new heights.
Non-profit initiatives of corporates usually include CSR activities in providing support & training for aspirants from the under-privileged sections of the society. This way, these corporate houses and foundations bridge the gap between socio-economic conditions and access to world-class training facilities & infrastructure. Some corporates also own leagues, franchises or provide sponsorship, thus establishing their commercial interests in the sports sector.
Corporate Boost for Sports in India
The commercial success of IPL in Cricket has led to similar leagues & tournaments in other sports such as badminton, football, hockey, etc. Even though these games do not enjoy the same popularity as Cricket, the recent Pro Kabaddi League and Indian Super League (Football) have brought in great financial boost & interest into the sports sector.
Besides being an avenue for the corporate to generate potential, these leagues have proven to be a good medium for generating interest and promoting the sports culture.
Corporate Boost for Sportsmen in India
Apart from establishing training institutions and sports infrastructure, brands are increasingly sponsoring individual & aspiring sportspersons to make their mark on Indian & International sporting competitions.
The Tata Group has been actively involved in promoting sports and supporting sportspersons to help India find a top position in International sports ranking. Achievers like Saurav Ganguly, Leander Paes, P Gopichand and Geet Sethi were all supported by the Tata Group during critical moments in their sporting careers.
Recently, Hindustan Zinc supported India’s open water swimmer Bhakti Sharma’s efforts in setting a new world record by swimming 1.4 miles at Antarctic Ocean. She has received sponsorship and financial support for a year that greatly helped her in overcoming challenges in terms of training and encouragement. As a part of this sponsorship, she will also be training aspiring girl swimmers from the state of Rajasthan.
Even though corporate sports sponsorship is a win-win proposition for both brands and sportspersons, the need of the hour should be the identification & support for the next generation’s sporting ambition. Corporate investment in sports which has traditionally been limited to CSR initiatives in India, should shift their focus to the development of sports culture. Big corporates and foundations need to invest more on creating a sports ecosystem that can improve audience interest and breed better champions for the nation.
To go by the saying ‘Practice what you preach’, Casagrand launched ‘Aspiring Stars’, an initiative to nurture young sporting talents in India. This year, Casagrand will be sponsoring two promising, young Tennis champions – Abinikka.R and Dhakshineshwar by funding their coaching, equipment, nutrition and other essential needs. Click here to know more about this noble initiative by Casagrand to nurture tomorrow’s champions.