Changing the game for an otherwise one-sport nation: Nitin Kukreja, Business Head, Star Sports


In a country of over 1.25 billion people, cricket and entertainment have become synonymous with each other. Over the last couple of years, television companies have worked hard on leveraging this opportunity. At EEMAGINE 2015, industry leaders gathered to talk about this trend as the nation gears up for the biggest Live event - Indian Premier League.

NitinKukreja, Business Head, Star Sports stated that sports as a business has transformed, evolving India from a one-sport nation to newer opportunities that make it a billion-dollar industry. Star Sports, a two-year old entity in the business, challenged status quo when it posed the question on why despite much diversity in its composition, it continued to be a one-sport nation? Star Sports was an endeavour to change the game itself, primarily with two key innovations – ‘Pro Kabaddi League’ and ‘Indian Super League’.

“Our fundamental block was to showcase different kinds of sport but not in the traditional manner,” said MrKukreja. “US is a good example of building the ecosystem but India continues to deal with challenges such as poor stadium, poor seating, among others,” he added.

Star addressed grassroot problems. It was imperative for it to create basic hygiene at the stadiums that would enhance the experience for consumers. In many instances, the consumer experience was killed on just given the sheer the distance from the action. It was crucial for the sports ecosystem in India to retain what it has and create a comfortable environment to further it.

With a touch of glamour, India has now embraced Football and Kabaddi and moved beyond being just a single sports nation. Nevertheless, MrKukreja pointed out, “A lot still needs to be done in the sport arena. We need to create stickiness and give people a chance to cheer for a team.”

Finally, it should not shy away from taking it to the next level. “We must take it to the grandest stage and build on it with things like pre-inaugural ceremony, activation, engagement, etc. A lot more needs to be done for the consumers and their convenience.”

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