Five Indian cities best equipped to host a global sports event

10 May 2021 3 min. read
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Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Bhubaneswar and Bangalore are the five Indian cities best suited to host a global sports event – according to a new study by Grant Thornton Bharat. 

India is looking to boost its capacity for hosting mega sports events – an area where the country’s performance in the past has been mixed. The commonwealth games, for instance, were a resounding success at the time, but much of the infrastructure has since deteriorated.

“In recent times, there have been talks of India being a potential host to the some of the marquee events in world of sport, including bidding for the prestigious Olympic Games,” explained Grant Thornton Bharat partner Kunal Sood.

Five Indian cities best equipped to host a global sports event

“While it is evident that the road to hosting such an event would be long and full of hurdles, it is important to assess where the strengths and areas of improvement for our cities currently lie. As advisor to various state governments, we have been doing our bit in professionalising sports management in India.” 

With this as a backdrop and leveraging its widely recognised sporting expertise, the accounting and consulting firm surveyed 50 leading professionals across teams, leagues, government associations, academies and the media – for an overview of India’s preparedness to host a mega event. Five top cities emerged. 

Top five cities

Delhi – home to the 2010 Commonwealth Games – took top spot. The city has demonstrated capacity to hold such an event, and houses advanced playgrounds and sports facilities; good academies; and quality stadiums. Several sporting bodies are also based in Delhi. That said, the city could improve when it comes to fan following for live sporting events, and the proper utilisation of infrastructure. 

Up next is Mumbai – lauded for its vast experience hosting events, high fan following, and presence of key sports teams and federations. The city could use some work in building quality stadiums and cultivating a social culture of fitness and daily sports.

Ahmedabad ranked third, with demonstrated capacity to organise global sporting events. Stadiums are up to the mark, and usually full with enthusiastic supporters. Areas of improvement include the number of sporting teams based in the city, and the number of Olympic-grade athletes it produces. 

Number four is Bhubaneshwar – also strong in hosting world-class events with easy access to facilities and playgrounds. Drawbacks are that the city houses neither sports federations nor any notable teams.

Rounding off India’s top five cities for large sporting events is Bangalore, with a wide set of merits – including a large base of sports fans; ease of access to playgrounds; an active and health-conscious society; quality academies and the presence of sporting federations. The only key challenge is that Bangalore hasn’t yet hosted a global sporting event of global significance.

According to Sood, making the necessary improvement and hosting an event could be crucial in the economic recovery. “There is enough data to suggest the bid would stimulate economic growth and development as well as improve cities’ infrastructure. Hosting such events is essential to ensuring effective long-term utilisation of facilities.”