Sports as a Career
Back in the 1980s, most youngsters in India had a limited set of career options they could choose from. These were careers that were considered safe by the parents and since they were safe because countless others had already opted for becoming a doctor, engineer or lawyer before. Those children who harbored thoughts of becoming professional sports persons were gently but persistently dissuaded from pursuing sports as a means of earning a livelihood.
Changing Face of Sports Careers
Since the 1980s, there has been a sea change in the way the entire country looks at sports as a career. Today, it is no surprise to see top sports persons earn millions from not just playing sports but from endorsements and other avenues. Sports stars are no less than actors or other celebrities and the media follows their every move hungrily.
The T20 cricket world cup and the Indian Cricket Leagues that have sprung up and brought club-class cricket to spectators is a well-known phenomenon. The huge amounts of money that is poured into cricket has led to a maturity in the revenue models that were hitherto associated with sports. Whereas 20 years back, an international or national level sports person had no option but to to fade into obscurity, ignored by the media and their achievements forgotten by those around them. The influx of media attention on sports has helped to develop a platform where players can be recognized and the rest of the country can get to know about their achievements. Not just in playing sports, but a number of related options have opened up in the sports-related industry. Sports marketing, management, administration and training have emerged as new areas. So have sports medicine, nutrition and even sports law. The latter is indicative of new areas where sports and other professions overlap each other, such as sports journalism.
Sports & Business Sense
Traditionally, a sports person was not expected to be good at business matters. As a professional sportsperson, if you had life insurance and a term plan, that was the limit of your forward planning. All that was required was a passion for the game and years of hard work. The hard work usually translated into a coaching or training job when the person has retired from active sports. Sports-related injuries also take their toll over time and many have to step down due to this reason. Many young athletes have had to step down from promising futures in sports due to injuries. Usually, at which point, it is back to the life insurance and term plan calculations, however insurance payouts vary according to the premium chosen and the type of injury. What insurance does is provide the necessary peace of mind to focus on getting back into the game.