Field Hockey is not what you would strictly call a ‘professional’ sport like baseball, tennis, basketball or football. Hence many players and fans ask the questions, will field hockey ever go pro? If so when ? What is the current status of the sport on a global scene? We hope to answer some of these in today’s post.
Firstly, how popular is field hockey?
Several global sporting websites put field hockey in the top 5 most popular sports in the world based on fans, being in the order of more than 2 billion! That’s a lot! So where are all these fans? Mainly in India, field hockey is the national sport there and gets a pretty big following, some European countries like the Netherlands also have a big field hockey competition. Other strong countries include Australia, Spain, Germany and England however field hockey is not a very dominant sport in these countries and their populations are nowhere near India. The number of players of the actual sport isn’t super high although. Evidence of this is the fact that the hockey league in India can’t even supply enough players to support itself, about half the players in the tournament are from Europe or Australia.
Right, so we know its popular but mainly in India.
Still, surely it should be pro? The only countries field hockey players get paid any sun of money worth mentioning is in India, via Hero Hockey India League (HIL) and a few countries in the European hockey league (EHL). While this is the case the amount they get paid is barely as much as an average job as far as salary goes. Even the top players don’t get a great deal of cash especially when compared to any other pro sport like basketball. For example Ramandeep Singh (pictured below) was the highest paid player in the Indian Hockey League but only received $81 k US, not a lot when you think Kobe Bryant gets 25 million US per year!!
Sponsorship & Growth
Are the big field hockey brands putting money into the sport ? Well its supply and demand kind of thing, the more players that get into the sport the more money these big brands will pump in. Sponsorship has been growing in recent years, especially with a massive company Adidas getting more involved in the sport. Another good sign is that there are new field hockey stick brands coming up all the time which is a healthy sign for the sport, improving the technology.
What may the future look like for Field Hockey ?
It may be obvious from all the hoopla in India someone expects Field Hockey to expand in the next few years dramatically. The FIH has already indirectly supported this by allowing 16 teams to participate in the 2018 World Cup. This means 8 new teams. Here is the potential of millions of dollars in revenues.
The 2016 Rio Olympics should give the sport another boost as Brazil puts on a show, showing the world what a great sport field hockey is.
So if you love the sport you’ll probably be able to see much more of it in the future in form of streaming video, TwitchTV, and Amazon’s Internet multimedia venture with all the fixings.
All of this will give rise to massive expansion of all forms of sport as their will be unlimited access to laptops, tablets, and the smartphone where now you will be able to watch thousands of channels of online sports and other video activities.
So by 2018 you will have the World Cup action anywhere on the planet as we will have a worldwide grid of interlocked smartphone and multimedia entertainment networks in the world.