There was a time when the landscape and culture of sports in India offered little hope. Cricket – and occasionally field hockey – provided necessary entertainment, but the development of India’s future sports stars lacked a certain zeal. As the international market has begun to pay more attention to the potential of sports in India, the future of the general sports infrastructure has changed, and done so dramatically. There is now basketball in India, even American football. Major League Baseball in the U.S. has pitchers originally from India, as popularized by Disney’s recent film Million Dollar Arm. As Indian sports continue to develop, more and more opportunities from abroad will present themselves.
India’s arm of French sports goods retailer Decathlon announced Friday they will build over 60 stores to the already-existing 13 in India. The project timeline expects the new operations to open at different points over the next five years. The company will double its sourcing for local operations, according to Steve Dykes, the chief executive officer of Decathlon Sports India.
“India is an exciting time for us and for sports there is a huge potential,” said Dykes. “Cricket is a classic sport, but other sports such as precision sports are also very developed.”
Whereas in other locations Decathlon can focus more on more active sports such as running and cycling, they must first make sure to serve the cricket fans of India. However, in the past few years, the French retailer has noticed the market willing to try new things. Decathlon has 720 stores in 20 countries, with a high reputation for their goods. The franchise has demands worldwide for their cycling, archery, fishing, tennis, rollerblading, and running equipment.
“We see Indian consumers are willing to try new sports,” added Dykes.