A professional approach is key to any country’s success in modern sports. Despite being the world's second most populous country, India's inability to make it big at the top level has as much to do with poor sports governance as a lack of professionalism.
But slowly, the scenario is changing and today's parents, especially in urban areas, are no longer averse to their children picking up sport and pursuing it as a career. One prime reason for this mindset change is the big money that games, such as cricket, tennis, badminton etc., pull in from corporate sponsors.
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The Indian Premier League, a professional Twenty20 cricket league launched in 2008, threw wide open the endless possibilities of melding sports with business. Many other leagues, such as the Hockey India League, Premier Badminton League, Indian Super League football, Champions Tennis League, Pro Kabaddi League and Pro Wrestling League, sprung up following the success of the IPL.
These cash-rich leagues come with live coverage and great packaging, and offer plenty of opportunities for players. And they also have laid bare the huge paucity of world-class sports management talent in the country.
For those so inclined, sports management is now a serious career option. It is a relatively new concept in India and there are not many institutes that offer specialized training in the discipline.
In an ambitious bid to address the the paucity of professionally competent administrators in Indian sports, the Center of Sports and Management Studies (CS & MS), founded by former Indian Davis Cupper and reputed tennis coach Enrico Piperno, has tied up with the Shri Dharmasthala Manjunatheshwara Institute for Management Development (SDMIMD) in Mysuru to launch a sports management program.
The institute will offer a 3-month certificate program in sports management (CPSM) and a 9-month post-graduate program in sports management (PGPSM).
Somdev as brand ambassador
Former Indian tennis star Somdev Devvarman is the brand ambassador of the initiative.
"I have been involved with sports for four decades and now it is time to give something back,” Piperno told Onmanorama. “I feel there is a lack of professionalism in the way we conduct sports events. No doubt, we have come a long, long way from the days when I first played for India in 1977. Plenty of leagues have emerged of late, but most of these are run by professionally paid employees who have done sports management courses abroad. I want our youngsters, who are passionate about sports, to get involved with sports administration by giving them a chance to pursue sports management courses at an affordable rate."
There are plenty of career opportunities for those who take up sports management courses. The many leagues, which are flourishing in India, national federations, schools, colleges and universities, sports goods manufacturers, sports event management firms and sports marketing firms all need professionally qualified personnel.
Elaborating on the content of the multi-faceted course, Piperno, who has coached Indian tennis stars such as Leander Paes and Mahesh Bhupathi, said it will touch upon subjects pertaining to various aspects of sports management.
"One of the program's highlights is the internship program in coordination with top sports management firms such as IMG and Global Sports. It will provide students with an opportunity to learn on-the-job skills and help them gain valuable industry knowledge. I am also in touch with the stakeholders of the wrestling and kabaddi leagues. Once the course gets over, we will be doing our bit in getting them placements too," said Piperno.
"The SDMIMD is an eminent institute and H. Gayathri (program director, sports management and deputy director, SDMIMD) believed in my vision. Somdev is very passionate about Indian sports and he was glad to be the brand ambassador," Piperno added.
The course focuses on the following topics:
» Leadership in sports
» Management of leagues and teams
» Sports administration in the Indian context
» Sports accounting and finance
» Sports and entertainment marketing
» PR in sports and advertising management
» Funding in sports
» Role of media in sports and introduction to sports journalism
» Creating sports facility and facility management
» Sports event management
» Sports law and ethics
» Global sports tourism
» Sports science and training methods at the grass-root level
» Governance of international sports organizations
The fees for the postgraduate course is Rs 2.5 lakh and for the certificate course is Rs 75,000.
Those who have scored 45 percent aggregate in 10th, 12th and degree courses are eligible to apply. Final-year degree students can also seek admission. The classes will begin in June.