Boxing as A Growing Premium Sporting Event in Indian Education System
Watching sports both in stadiums and via audio-visual platforms has been an integral part of the Indian ecosystem for eons. Cricket has dominated most screens in the nation for time immemorial and has garnered more worshipers than followers for the sport. Over the last few years, this trend has seen a major shift as more sports enthusiasts are increasingly interested in other sporting events such as tennis, badminton, kabaddi, and etcetera. Residing within the Indian nervous system is boxing, which has made a huge breakthrough in sports and elevated its position in the minds of the Indian audience.
India currently has over 14 thousand registered boxers in three weight categories and has also garnered the maximum number of medals for boxing in contrast to any other category of sports in competitive games. India’s talent and passion towards boxing can easily be seen through the position we hold in the international amateur boxing segment at the Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, and other world competitions. However, graduating from the amateur circuit to the professionalneeds concentrated efforts towards training in certain skill sets, preparation, right guidance, and finding the correct platform.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council (BARC) reported that sports viewership on TV in India ascended to 46 billion impressions in 2018, which was a 7% increase from the previous year. This hike to some extent can be attributed to the increased interest in sports that were side-lined previously and have recently gained popularity through private leagues. Viewership of pro-boxing matches has also seen a boost when it comes to the Indian audience. Even though the television viewership of boxing matches didn’t move the needle to a great extent prior to 2018, there has been a noteworthy surge in watching international pro-boxing on digital platforms and watching live matches whenever possible.
It is believed that India’s affinity towards boxing will further increase when more Indian boxers enter the pro category and fight for belts instead of only fighting for medals. Not many people are aware, but Indian boxerPradip Singh Sihag was a competitor at The Contender Australia. He was a middleweight champion and held multiple titles. Similarly, India’s boxing heartthrob Vijender Singh now also holds a couple of WBO Super-Middleweight Asian titles.
For a long period of time, there wasn’t any scope for Indian boxers to up their game after the amateur level and turn Pro. However, inspiring sport stars like Rajesh Luka and Asha Roka, etc have broken through the system and paved the way for newcomers to turn Pro. Motivating idols such as these in the Indian boxing arena are pushing more amateur boxers to enter the professional boxing ring and are constantly looking for opportunities to showcase their talent and win belts.
Known as a gladiator sport, boxing is one of the highest revenue-generating sports globally. The potential of the sport is such that it calls for billion-dollar deals for limited fights; increasing the earning potential for pro-boxers to an unimaginable high. The sport attracts the attention of the rich and the powerful, enticing them to invest in it to gain larger returns. Not only does the sport offer a great business opportunity, but it also provides real action and a high entertainment quotient for its viewers.
The world of pro boxing is truly an unexplored goldmine in the Indian subcontinent.
It is slowly and steadily gaining the recognition which it rightfully deserves. Even the film industry is making movies on boxing like Mary Kom, Mukkabazz, etc. More and more TV commercials have also started using boxing as a medium to promote their brands. It is increasingly becoming the most sought-after communication strategy in India due to the right mix of emotion, passion, audience connects, entertainment and business.
This article is authored by Anirudh Pathak, Co-Director & Co-Founder, Megaboxing.