Australia is a global giant in the fields of sports and sports technology. Australia is one of the most active sporting nations in the world and is reputed for its sporting excellence through its performances across a wide range of sports. Australia has nurtured sports at the grass roots level through strong emphasis on sporting activities and investments in
Australia has developed state of the art infrastructure across various sports such as football, rugby, cricket, tennis, basketball, formula 1 racing and athletics. A few notable manifestations of Australia’s world class infrastructure are the Melbourne Cricket Ground, The Adelaide Oval, Stadium Australia, Suncorp Stadium, Qudos Bank Arena and The Rod
Laver Arena. The stadiums/courts developed for each of these sports are also monetized to the optimum through leasing for multi-disciplinary sports leagues, entertainment events, corporate conferences and so on.
Australia is renowned for its sports administration and sports marketing practices. The agencies overseeing various sports are run by professionals with experience in sports as well as execution in other non-sporting fields, resulting in implementation of efficient and systemic administrative practices. Australian sports marketing companies have developed
strong expertise in the development of sports and entertainment business solutions, branding for various sports events and sportspersons.
Australia has a multi-disciplinary sports medicine body named “Sports Medicine Australia”, which is responsible for overseeing the health of sportspersons across various sports. Many sports medicine professionals trained in Australia are sought after by sportspersons across the world due to their exceptional expertise. In India, Australia based physiotherapists and trainers have been hired by various IPL teams.
Australia’s sports tech industry is known for its innovative, advanced products and solutions. Many Australia based sports tech firms have grabbed the attention of sports executives, investors and scientists in the US, China as well as of big leagues such as FIFA. Some of the prominent names in this sector are Catapult Sport, Fusion Sport, Brooklyn Dynamics, Champion Data, Belgravia Technologies, Interact Sport, DMC Sport, POD Active, Planet Innovation, InfoPlum, and Ventou. Australia also has supportive infrastructure for the sector with bodies such as ‘The Australian Institute of Sport’ (AIS) and ‘Australian Sports Technologies Network’ (ASTN) providing adequate encouragement and assistance to the sector. Australian offerings in sports technologies include performance and protective wear, sports equipment, stadium and facility technologies, wearable technologies, sports analytics (data and video) and sports digital solutions (club management and fan engagement).
While Australia has a well-developed and established industry, the Indian sports industry is in a nascent stage and is witnessing high growth. The Indian sports industry was valued at USD 2.7 billion in 2018, having grown at 16% CAGR from USD 1.3 billion in 2013. Although cricket remains the most popular sport in India, the popularity of several other sports such
as badminton, kabaddi, football and hockey has seen a huge increase in the recent past. Establishment of well-equipped sporting academies and emergence of domestic leagues have led to the surge in popularity of other sports. By 2016, Sports and camping equipment spending in India had reached USD 0.5 billion471 and is expected to grow to USD 0.8 billion by 2020. Besides mainstream sports, there is an increasing interest in other sports such as marathons and cycling in India.
India can collaborate with Australia on multiple avenues in the sports industry. The key areas for collaboration could be sports infrastructure, sports administration, sports marketing, sports medicine, sports technology and sports education.
India can significantly improve the current practices followed across sports infrastructure, marketing, administration and medicine by collaborating with Australia to organize workshops, training sessions and courses to understand and implement the best practices.
In India, the sports technology industry is still developing. However, in recent years there has been some traction in this space with Government encouragement to sports start-ups. Indian sports technology developer Spektacom Technologies has partnered with Microsoft to create the “power bat” that has an AI-enabled chip, which provides meaningful data insights into a batsman’s game. Sports365 is another Indian start-up that caters to the sports and fitness sector with its one stop solution for sporting requirements such as apparel, equipment and even services such as event planning, consulting and merchandising services to school, clubs, colleges, etc. Retinsense, an early stage start-up, is using biomechanics and sensors to predict the chances of injury for its athletes.
The number of domestic leagues in India across kabaddi, football, wrestling, boxing, and badminton have gone up from 2 in 2013 to 15 in 2018. Australian sport start-ups with a key focus on audience engagement, can collaborate with various sport agencies to tap into India’s growing sport viewership market.
Collaboration in sports technology can be carried out at multiple stakeholder levels for application in the Indian market. This can be carried out between Governments, training academies, private players as well as ICT companies operating in this sector. Indian stakeholders can work with their Australian counterparts to develop and adopt innovative and advanced sports technologies, utilizing Indian cost-effective manufacturing techniques. Australian technology for sports, particularly for training, monitoring, performance enhancement has already been successfully implemented in Gujarat’s Sports University located at Gandhinagar. Similar
technologies may be replicated at a larger scale across other sports universities in India.
While the sports scenario is gradually changing, with sports such as badminton and football gaining popularity, India still requires a stronger impetus and a heightened focus on sports to fully realize its potential. The Government of India has set up its first National Sports University (NSU) at Manipur, Imphal, and has laid the foundation stone for the University’s
proposed 325-acre campus on 16th March 2018. Bachelor of Physical Education & Sports (BPES), B.Sc (Sports Coaching) and MA (Sports Psychology) courses have been started at the Khuman Lampak Sports Complex. At present. there are 185 students studying at NSU.
The University functions with the following departments:
The University will be the first one of its kind to promote education in the areas of sports sciences, sports technology, sports management and sports coaching. A Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) has been signed by the National Sports University, Government of India with the Australian Universities of Canberra and Victoria in April 2017. India can work with
Australia in the establishment of a similar sports university to support the development of diverse sports and to improve access to infrastructure and sports-related specializations for upcoming athletes and students in India. This proposition was included in the Joint Statement made by the respective countries’ Prime Ministers in 2015. A cohesive action plan should
be initiated by the Ministry of Youth Affairs and Sports in India, in correspondence with the relevant Australian universities and institutions.
Sports collaboration between the NSU and Australian Sports Universities may be initiated in the following identified areas:
Australian universities have one of the best programs in the world for sports management, sports administration and sports marketing. Many Indian students are opting for such courses in Australia. The collaboration with Australia to set up a sports university will help to introduce similar curricula in India and will prove to be immensely beneficial for Indian
Note: Impact of Covid-19 on Sporting Sector
The outbreak of Covid-19 has led to the rescheduling of one of the largest, most-viewed sporting events in the world- the Olympics. In addition, the general decline in live sports viewership and sporting events in the coming year will be felt significantly in this sector. National resources are expected to be prioritized to critical sectors such as pharmaceutical, healthcare, agriculture, education, etc. However, with time, as the world transitions back to normalcy, the opportunities discussed in this section can be implemented to bring desired results.
Source: UC to help set up India’s national sports university, University of Canberra website
In 2019, India based Somras Ventures entered into a cooperation agreement with Israel based sports accelerator Hype Sports Innovation, one of the largest ecosystems in sports innovation, in order to bring in investment and technology to the Indian sports industry. The Indian Government has implemented various initiatives such as the Mission Olympic Cell to improve the performance of sports in the country. Indian sports technology start-ups like Tappp, Rooter have also attracted investments from global funds such as ADvantage SportsTech Fund that has invested USD 10 million in India. Australian funds and investors can also explore potential opportunities for investment in this sector.
471 EMIS Research Database, Sport and camping equipment spending (India)