There is no doubt that the Indian Sports Ecosystem is one of the largest in terms of revenue generation and customers (fans). The potential that the market possesses is immense and yet to be fully unlocked. Various avenues of opportunity are available in the domain but the significant roadblock that we as potential candidates face is the lack of knowledge about the pathway that leads to it. Here’s where schools like Great Lakes come into the picture through academic courses, and webinars by eminent personalities from the industry.
The most important requirement to enter the industry is a proper understanding of the sport and a passion for it, knowledge about the business aspects of a particular sport, and other professional skills. The first and the third are a given, so instead I am going to focus on the second aspect here. First off, there are over 20 verticals in the sports ecosystem in India starting from Operations, Sales and Marketing, Broadcast, E-Sports, Analytics, etc. As an aspirant, you need to pick a vertical that interests you the most and acquire some experience in the same. There are over 50+ unique job roles in the industry across the 20+ verticals. Once you get an understanding of the industry and are aware of the job opportunities in the market, the next step is to prepare yourself for it. The digital era has made sure that there is no dearth of information about any given topic. You just need the knack for finding the right resource that meets your requirements.
Twenty verticals in the sports industry
Mr. G Srinivvasan, CEO of Sporjo, a company that helps candidates assess their strengths and find a career in the sports management industry, delivered a webinar at Greatlakes in September 2020. It was a complete deep dive into the opportunities available in the sports industry in India and how one could prepare to land a job in the field. It opened our minds and helped us reimagine the sports ecosystem as a viable career option, blending a passion for sport with business skills. The market is expected to grow multi-fold in the coming years due to the exponential growth in fan base, the need for advisors and specialists in different niche areas from ticketing, to match operations, merchandising, content creation, product management, real-time stats to help athletes on the field and a whole lot more.
The Sports Analytics elective course that we had as a part of our curriculum gave an insight into the sports economy and the various revenue streams of the industry. The industry recently took a major hit due to the pandemic but there is always an opportunity in adversity. Many organizations transformed themselves and reworked their business models to exploit the new normal. We had the opportunity to listen to seasoned professionals like CKM Dhananjai and Sundar Raman who threw light on what happens behind the scenes and how work gets done in the industry. The employment of technology in the sports domain has grown tremendously segue into the rise of another vertical, analytics. The vast amount of data generated, if put to good use, could revolutionize sports in every aspect. Right from player performance, team dynamics, event scheduling, and technical execution– every part of it is technology-enabled.
The first steps into the industry could be tricky but the future looks remarkable in terms of growth and opportunities. Also, it takes a bit of self-involvement and passion towards sports to crack it along with the right set of management skills. I got the opportunity to be a part of the Sports Committee during my time at Great Lakes. My interest in operations and sports provided the blend of skills required to be part of the committee and organize several events/tournaments. These tournaments gave me first-hand experience, at a professional level, in organizing and deploying a franchise sporting event. And along with it learning firsthand from the technical and operational difficulties that we faced, personnel management, marketing on social media, sponsorship, and finance. All of us in the committee were extremely dedicated and passionate about sports which made the job easier, but it was having a managerial mindset and applying the concept learnt along the way that saw us through all the hurdles.
Obviously, real-world challenges would be wide-ranging and far more complex than those we faced at B-school, but the learnings have helped mold and prepare us to identify those opportunities. Now to explain the title. I am a huge Formula 1 fan, and if you are too, you would understand the concept of slipstreaming. A non-technical explanation would be that, due to the aerodynamics involved, the car ahead of you creates an air stream that helps generate a better pace for your car. Here, the car ahead of you is the various learnings, webinars, training sessions, and internships that you can leverage to get a foothold in the sports industry and the car behind is you. Make the absolute best of what is available in front of you and flourish!
Balaji V & Priyanka Murali
Great Lakes, PGPM Class of 2021