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Students at ISB explore the business of sports with Joy Bhattacharjya

The Indian School of Business has long been known for the diversity in its student body with the Post Graduate Programme attracting professionals from all walks on life. On the evening of 20th July this diversity was reflected through a unique guest speaker- Mr Joy Bhattacharjya, Project Director for the FIFA U-17 World Cup taking place in India in 2017. The session was organized by Kshemal Waingankar, a professional cricketer and current student who has represented Mumbai in the Ranji Trophy and was also a part of the Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) squad.

Mr. Bhattacharjya who was formerly Team Director of KKR delivered a riveting talk on the ‘Business of Sports in India’. Having been associated with the industry for several years, he threw light on the evolution of organised sports in the country from the pre-Independence era all the way to the present day and age of IPL and fantasy sports. Though India has come a long way in competitive sports, the country has not yet managed to make its mark beyond cricket, badminton and chess. Sports has unfortunately received little consideration from youngsters or their parents as a profession which has created a lacuna not just on the playing field but also in management and administration.

The landscape is slowly changing however with the current generation showing increasing enthusiasm for this industry. Mr Bhattacharjya who has addressed students at top B-schools across the country believes there is a growing opportunity for management graduates to apply their skills and professionalism to the business of sports. Indian corporates today are more than willing to invest in sports not only through events such IPL but also among children in schools. The FIFA U-17 World Cup 2017, the biggest footballing event India has ever seen, has brought about a degree of professionalism in organised sports that has never been seen before. In Mr Bhattacharjya’s view, this tournament could be a game changer for the country and as Project Director he hopes to involve the youth in volunteering efforts in the coming months.

When asked about the scope for management graduates in sports, Mr Bhattacharjya spoke about his experience as Team Director for KKR where he applied analytics to study aspects such as trust to build a ‘culture of winning’ among members, a move that worked wonders for the team. In the same vein he however mentioned, “Business tools such as analytics are extremely useful but what the Indian sporting landscape seriously needs right now is passion.” 

The session generated much buzz among students with many now curious to explore opportunities in organised sports in India and thus play an instrumental role in ushering in a new era for this industry.

Article credits - Smita Shore and Chaitra Sagar PGP class of 2017