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Corporate Role Vital for Sustainable Growth in Sports: Experts

In Sports
March 08, 2019

Involving corporate sector is very important in developing infrastructure and nurturing talents, besides achieving sustainable growth in sports sector, according to experts.

Speaking at a panel discussion on “Startups in Sports” on the sidelines of “SportX Kerala-2019”, a three-day International Sports Expo being held at Jimmy George Indoor Stadium here, they said corporate sector has contributed immensely in promoting sports in other countries. They also emphasized the need to develop marketing opportunities to make Indian sports more attractive and popular.

Delivering the keynote address at the session, Varun Chandran, CEO, Corporate 360, said the sports sector held vast opportunities for startups.

“There are startups in sports sector mainly for manufacturing equipment, and developing infrastructure. In developed countries, there are grass root level football academies. Companies are ready to invest in national teams as their performances are far superior to other teams,” Chandran pointed out.

He suggested that developing good football grounds at the grass roots will help groom budding talents. “We have to develop a football culture emulating countries like Brazil where infrastructure development gets a priority.”

“Sports academies can source funds from corporate firms for creating infrastructure without relying on government. Good performers from the academy can be appointed as coaches in different villages,” Chandran said.

The footballer-turned-entrepreneur said qualities he acquired from football, like decision making and ability to fight back, have helped him to become a successful entrepreneur.

“Investment should go not only for hosting big events but also for developing infrastructure. Creating awareness that sports is an opportunity to boost our economy in also important,” he added.

Arun Nair, Co-Founder and COO, Sports Hood, said infrastructure is a huge bottleneck in the sports sector. “Private investment is essential to overcome this. Grass root level coaches have to be evolved to train budding football players.”

Bobby Aloysius, former International athlete, was also present. A Vinod, Senior Correspondent, The Hindu, was the moderator. A panel discussion on “Sports Marketing” was also held at the expo.

Later, addressing the valedictory session of the expo, Jacob Punnoose, former DGP, said at least one per cent of state’s income should be earmarked for the development of sports. “There are countries in the world where more than two or three percent of income is earmarked for activities related to sports,” he said.

Punnoose, who co-ordinated the 35th National Games held in Kerala, noted some of the ideas that emerged at the expo include the need for a good number of advanced training centres in the state; infrastructure and methodology; and sport hubs integrating universities.

Sanjayan Kumar, Director, Sports and Youth Affairs, welcomed the gathering. More than 100 leading manufacturers of sports goods and fitness equipment are showcasing a wide range of niche products at the expo, which will conclude on Saturday.