The Union Budget 2022, announced on February 1, 2022, has allocated an amount of INR 3,062.60 crore ($400 million) towards sports and its development in India.
This is an increase of over INR 300 crore from the last budget and is the highest allocation of funds for sports to date.
This includes INR 974 crores for Khelo India - almost one-third of the budget. It also includes INR 280 crore for National Sports Federations and INR 16 crore for the National Sports Development fund - down from 25 crores the previous year.
Funds allocated towards awards and incentives for sportspeople saw a significant jump from INR 245 crores to just over INR 400 crores, including 55 crores as performance incentives.
There is also INR 653 cores allocated for the Sports Authority of India.
So what does this all mean for sports fans like yourself?
Here are five takeaways from the Union Budget 2022 for sports.
An increase of close to 10% in the sports budget indicated that the government is positive and optimistic about sports in the country.
The government understands that an active sports culture means a healthier population. But a robust sports industry also provides a great platform to showcase our country - be it through global sports events or sports tourism.
The sports industry, like most other industries, had a tough 2020 - its total valuation dropped to just under 6,000 crores from a high of just INR 9,000 crores in 2019.
Estimates peg that 2021 will have seen a huge bump from 2020; the government’s rise in the sports budget is an indicator of that optimism.
Such deployment of public funds also encourages private companies to launch and execute bolder projects that are complementary to the government’s efforts.
Be it coaching centres, high-performance centres, or even athlete management agencies, everyone wins when the government is supportive.
The government’s continued investment in the Sports Authority of India is always a welcome sign. While this year's budget fell short of INR 7 crore from last year, INR 653 crores is no small amount.
SAI centres are often considered to be beacons of excellence.
The operations at some of the larger SAI centres are so complex it takes several hundred staff working seamlessly to make running the centre feel effortless.
Administrators, coaches, trainers, physiotherapists, counsellors, and other support staff come together to create and sustain a well functioning ecosystem.
This ecosystem of centres forms the basis of the training of some of India’s best and foremost athletes.
Not to mention most centres also host national team training camps in preparation for national and international events.
Among the most encouraging signs of the Union Budget 2022 is the marked increase in awards and incentives for athletes.
Indian athletes continue to evolve.
Gone are the days when most athletes would only be able to speak about their sport.
Today, the average Indian athlete is social media savvy, more confident in expressing him or herself, and well aware of the global standards of training and competition required to succeed at a high level.
There is also a camaraderie set in amongst athletes.
This is due to various reasons - athletes performing together at the Khelo India games, training with each other at SAI centres, or even being part of a public or private sponsorship program.
By incentivising athletes on their performances, the government is also encouraging them to take a chance on themselves.
Athletes then go on to invest in their strength & conditioning, their nutrition, their psychology, and of course, their sports-specific skill sets.
This in turn incentivizes training and support staff to upskill themselves with the latest methods to be able to help athletes get the results they aim for.
Khelo India now commands over one-third of the total budget. When it kicked off it had a budget of just under 100 cores.
That is a 10x jump in a few years.
And rightfully so.
The Games have become one of the most sought after events in the Indian sporting calendar.
The scale of the event is often unfathomable, and sports events operators make it seem seamless.
Khelo India games are not only the multi-day multi-sport events we see on TV or showcased in the media. The games stem from an intricate yet carefully executed web of the district, state and zonal level competitions.
While the Games take place over a few weeks, the preparation by athletes is often year-round
It also fortifies the government’s commitment to giving grassroots programs a national platform to shine upon.
Young boys and girls from different corners of the country become national stars.
It also creates a pyramid that feeds scouts who are looking for the best talent to represent India on the global stage.
This is most likely the biggest takeaway for the sports industry. Infusion of funds into the system brings about optimism.
This optimism allows public sports bodies and private sports companies to match, if not exceed the investment the government is making.
This leads to more sports job opportunities for both, young boys and girls, and seasoned professionals.
Newer, bolder projects require a combination of fresh talent, and experienced individuals to execute.
Fresh graduates will be able to gain much-needed experience, while experienced professionals from other fields can make the seamless transition from traditional industries to the passion-led sports industry.
Just this budget itself showcased the different jobs that could open up this year.
Investment in Khelo India means more sports coaching jobs, and sports events operations jobs.
Investment in awarding and incentivising athletes means more athlete management or sports agents jobs.
Investment in the Sports Authority of India means, once again, more sports coaching jobs in addition to sports administration jobs.
Add to this jobs in sports physiotherapy, sports content, sports broadcasting, sports social media and digital media, and you begin to understand the scale of sports jobs to be created in just 2022.
As Sporjo’s white paper stated, sports jobs are going to see sustained growth over the coming years - a total of 40,000 jobs expected by 2024.
As the industry evolves, and more money is invested - both from the government and the private sector - the number of individuals employed by the sports industry will only keep rising.
At Sporjo, we keep a keen eye on how, when and where these public funds get deployed. Our leadership team and a team of experts have built deep relationships within the public sports sector, guiding and helping them find the right candidates to fit the roles they have open.
To learn more about these opportunities, and if you have the passion, personality and proficiency to take advantage of them, log on to sporjo.com today.