Sports as career option dips amongst urban youth: Assocham

Sports as career option dips amongst urban youth: Assocham

New Delhi: Sports have failed to lure majority of urban youth for career prospects since a meager 31% of them opt for it from Delhi, Punjab, Haryana, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Most young people prefer to join ‘big ticket’ games like cricket, tennis, hockey and shooting, according to a study carried out by Assocham onSports: a career path for young India’.

Venugopal Dhoot, president, Assocham hopes that films like Chak De India and the recently released Goal will help strengthen a sports culture in India and create a healthier ratio of urban and rural youth opting for a career in sports.

Key Findings

* Urban sports programmes promoted by Ministry of Youth Affairs & Sports yet to prove their worth, as they have not been launched with required vigour

* Corporates have been lukewarm in extending sponsorships for national games like hockey, football, athletics, boxing, weightlifting

*The Sports Authority of India (SAI) - National Sports Talent Contest (NSTC) Scheme has virtually proved to be a non-starter

* Urban youth from Karnataka, Andhra, Rajasthan, MP, HP, Kerala and Goa have also not shown eagerness to take up sports as a career

* Huge corporate sponsorships towards tournaments like 20-20 World Cup have only made cricket’s popularity in the sportsmen’s minds more pronounced inspite of Indian Hockey and Football teams winning the Asia and Nehru Cup recently

* 65% urban youth from listed states were successfully lured by emerging sectors like FMCG, finance, retail, IT, BPO, aviation, hospitality etc. who provided them higher salary and incentives sans them experiencing bottlenecks and stumbling blocks that they would likely have faced if and when embarking on a career in sports

* 72% rural and tribal youth from Orissa, Punjab, Chattisgarh, Haryana, Jharkhand, Kerala, Goa, North-Eastern States and Uttarakhand saw sports as a lucrative career with most getting absorbed in stable jobs in the railways, state government departments, PSUs, corporate houses etc. Hockey, football, archery, shooting, boxing and weightlifting are some of their first choices as compared to cricket for rural and tribal youth

* Rural Sports Programmes have boosted sports culture among rural and tribal youth and created a vast pool of talented sportspersons. According to estimates, over 780 sports programmes in rural and tribal areas were organized up to December 2006 in various disciplines like athletics, archery, hockey, wrestling, volleyball, football, kabaddi, etc. allowing over 15,000 young people to benefit

* Over 65% of sponsorship and advertisements go to cricket with balance being divided among other sports. Corporates show more interest in mass appeal games from where they can find adequate returns by displaying their products/services. Players like Bhaichung Bhutia, Jaspal Rana, Jeev Milkha Singh and Narain Karthikeyan are yet to capture big sponsorship deals whereas cricket players found them far more easily

* Over 30% of urban youth have no knowledge about any academic course run by SAI- Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education and Netaji Subhas National Institute of Sports. Rather they prefer to join management, vocational and emerging industry courses

* Only 10-12 crore youth in India have access to sports infrastructure and equipment facilities out of over 78 crore youth


* To revamp sports and to develop a sports culture in the country, over 78% respondents suggested that Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports should urgently design Urban Sports Programmes on the lines of Rural and Tribal Sports Programmes throughout major metros, emerging cities and towns

*The government should launch its Marketing Plans’ to aggressively tap Indian corporate giants’ sponsorship inflow from sectors which have huge corpus to spend (FMCG, telecom, entertainment, real estate developers, banks, PSUs)

According to Assocham estimates, Sahara is sponsoring Hockey in a big way by contributing over Rs20 crores for 8 years (2003 - 2011). Similarly, ZEE Group has become All India Football Federation’s (AIFF) marketing agent by signing a 10-year deal of Rs250 crore. With active sponsorship funds from Indian corporates in place, foreign corporates are likely to follow suit

*Talent Identification: Tapping or scouting of talent at the right time is needed at the grass root level with active participation of NSTC scheme in schools, colleges and institutions at every state and district level

* Step up access and awareness on sports related academic courses/ programmes/ degrees that can encourage urban and semi-urban youth to choose options like M.Sc (Sporting Coaching), Diploma and Certificate Course in Sports Coaching and Sports Medicines from Netaji Subhash NIS Patiala Institute and Masters, Bachelor of Physical Education and Sports Journalism from Lakshmibai National College of Physical Education, Thiruvananthapuram.