india: Chennai Super Kings is India’s biggest sports franchise, finds Ormax report

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India’s total sports fan base stands at 136.3 million, or 13.63 crore, people, as per a latest research report by media consulting firm Ormax Media.

The report, ‘We, The Sports Fans of India’ defines a sports fan as someone who watched live sports on TV or OTT in the last month for at least 30 mins as an active viewer.

The report is the outcome of a consumer research conducted over the six-month period from July to December 2021 and is based on a sample size of 12,000 people across urban and rural India.

While cricket leads with 124.2 million fans, kabaddi, wrestling (including WWE) and football are in a close contest for the second position, with 23-28 million fans each. The report profiles these fans by gender, age, NCCS, pop strata and states.

Among the franchises, Chennai Super Kings (CSK) has emerged as the biggest sports franchise in India. It is also the most popular IPL team in India, with 40.9 million fans. Its loyal fan base of 22.5 million people is almost the same as the entire fan base of the sport of football in India.

The report defines a loyal fan as someone who feels emotionally connected with the team and its results and engages in online or offline conversations around the team and its players.

The report also looks at the various football leagues and their fan following.

Lionel Messi’s erstwhile team Barcelona FC topped the list with 3.9 million fans, while Cristiano Ronaldo and Messi featured in the list of the 10 most popular sportspersons in India.

The list includes seven cricketers and badminton star PV Sindhu, besides the two football superstars.

In the section on viewing behaviour, the report looks at the TV vs. Digital consumption of sports. While 44% Indian sports fans watch live sports only on TV, a sizable 36% are using both traditional and digital media to watch live sports, while the remaining 20% are watching exclusively on Digital. The report also covers the preferred commentary languages in India, reported by various geographies and demographics.

Shailesh Kapoor, founder & CEO, Ormax Media, said, “Viewership numbers, especially from television, are not an accurate representation of the fanbase of any sport, as India is predominantly a single-TV nation where a lot of sports viewing is passive in nature. Through this report, we aim to fill in the need gap for reliable data on the size and the profile of the ‘real’ sports fans, who are actively watching and engaged with the sport. The report can provide useful material to sports leagues, teams and broadcasters for their brand and communication strategy initiatives.”

In a section titled ‘Active Sports Players in India’, the report estimates that 317.8 million Indians (about 23% of India’s population) are playing at least one outdoor sport actively in their life currently.

While cricket, football and badminton take the top three positions as the most played sports in India, volleyball and kho kho feature also prominently in the list too, with 56 million and 19 million active players, respectively

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