India Is Opening Up To Different Sports: Mustafa Ghouse, CEO, JSW Sports
Mustafa Ghouse, CEO, JSW Sports, spoke to BW Businessworld’s Jyotsna Sharma on participation in the Olympics, expectations from the upcoming budget and consumption of sports in India. Excerpts:
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How has the current sports scenario in India changed over the last few years?
There has been a considerable increase in interest, following and consumption of sports since we entered the market in 2012. While the industry numbers are still heavily skewed in favour of cricket, many signs show the country is opening up to different sports.
A lot of this change should be attributed to efforts being taken by the government and corporates. Through initiatives like the Khelo India programme and the Target Olympic Podium Scheme, the government is helping Indian athletes realise their potential on the global stage. The government earmarked over Rs 600 crore in its last budget for Khelo India. Further, the industry numbers show that revenue from sports advertising in the country has now risen from the $1-billion mark and reached close to Rs 8,000 crore in the last year. Together with corporate involvement in the leagues, and the inclusion of sport development under the CSR mandate, corporate India is also waking up to the benefits of investing in and helping develop sports at the elite and grassroots levels. However, only 1.8 per cent of all CSR funds (about Rs 200 crore) in 2018 were directed to sports, which of course needs to increase.
How does JSW Sports nurture athletes?
We started it in 2012 as a programme to support Indian Olympic athletes, but have evolved to a position today where we are the only Indian corporate to have a presence across all three major leagues in India: IPL, PKL and ISL. We have a significant presence in Olympic disciplines and sports infrastructure. Similarly, we have led the establishment of the Inspire Institute of Sport, India’s first high-performance training centre for Olympic, where we are nurturing future champions of Indian sport in Olympic disciplines. We are also proud of kickstarting this movement for Olympic sports by bringing together over
20 corporates that are working collectively towards funding the training and development of over 150 talented young athletes.
How is JSW gearing up for the Olympics 2020?
We are proud of supporting some of India’s most promising sportspersons in Wrestling, Boxing and Track & Field and are looking forward to them putting in inspiring performances in Tokyo. We are also excited about the prospects of the Indian shooting team. The Tokyo Olympics, which will mark a centenary of Team India’s participation at the Games, is also special for us as we are working with the Indian Olympic Association to set up the first-ever Indian Olympic Hospitality House: India House in Tokyo during the Games.
Your expectations from the upcoming Budget...
Increase outlay for development of priority sports in Olympic disciplines; GST reduction in sports equipment, infrastructure; GST reduction on sale of tickets for sporting activities. The reduction can help make tickets to sporting events affordable and spur viewership; Institutional measures to incentivise PPPs in sports infrastructure development, and sports development the grassroots level.