Australian High Commission
New Delhi
India, Bhutan

High Commissioner's remarks at the Deakin University & Rajasthan Royals Panel Discussion on the Future of Business of Sport

                                                              Deakin University & Rajasthan Royals – Panel Discussion on the Future of Business of Sport

Tuesday 1 May, 2.00 pm, Murray Harris Room

(check against delivery)

I’d like to warmly welcome you all to the Australian High Commission this afternoon.

In particular I acknowledge our distinguished panellists:

  • Ranjit Barthakur, Chairman, Rajasthan Royals
  • Ajinkya Rahane, Captain, Rajasthan Royals
  • Shane Warne, mentor to the team and Australian cricketing great
  • Gayatri Yadav (Star Sports), Vivek Sethia (India On Track) and Ravneet Pawha (Deakin)
  • and moderator, Associate Professor Adrian Raftery (Deakin)

The economic contribution of the sports sector in Australia is estimated at 2-3 per cent of GDP.

Sport is big business, and it offers attractive education and career pathways for young Australians.

This in turn supports our international competitiveness in sport.

In India, the IPL has been transformative in developing the domestic sports industry – so no better starting point for today’s discussion.

I am pleased we could host this event today for several reasons.

First, the collaboration between Deakin University and the Rajasthan Royals is a great example of cooperation we look to foster under the Australia-India Sports Partnership.

I commend this initiative, which seeks to promote a culture of sports education in India and encourage research partnerships that are industry-relevant and improve students’ university experience and job-readiness.

In Australia’s experience, sports education and research have been critical to the strength of our sports ecosystem. Supporting India as it builds up its own sports ecosystem is the main aim of the Sports Partnership.

Secondly, I see opportunities to increase trade and investment between Australia and India within the sports sector.

The Australian Government has commissioned an India Economic Strategy, to be released later this year.

Focusing on sectors and states, it will chart a parth to grow bilateral trade and investment out to 2035.

Unsurprisingly, education – one of the most successful areas of the Australia-India relationship – will continue to be a top priority. But sport will also be highlighted as a niche sector with potential.

To give you a relevant example, Kookaburra – an Australian company – supplies over 1500 cricket balls for the IPL every year. They’re made in Melbourne, but Kookaburra has also been manufacturing in Meerut since 2014 and has a major presence in India’s Rs 50 crore cricket ball market.

Further potential was highlighted in the margins of the Commonwealth Games earlier this month. An Indian business delegation travelled to the Gold Coast to participate in a trade and investment promotion program organised by the Queensland Government. It showcased opportunities in sport, education, tourism and agribusiness.

India is a market to watch as the popularity and commercialisation of sport continues to rise.

This afternoon’s discussion will unpick some of the key developments and challenges in the business sport in India, Australia and globally.

With the collective experience of this distinguished panel, it promises to be particularly interesting. Let’s get it underway.

Once again, a pleasure to have you all here at the High Commission.