Thin films of insulating Ti1−xNixO2 (x = 0.00, 0.05, 0.10, and 0.15) are synthesized by the spray pyrolysis technique. All the films are seen to crystallize into polycrystalline anatase phase of TiO2. However, weak signature of the NiTiO3 phase is also observed for the films having higher Ni ion concentration. Optical absorption analysis suggests nonmonotonous band gap decrease from 3.67 to 3.59 eV with respect to added concentration of Ni ions unto ‘x’ = 0.10 in the TiO2 matrix. The presence of ferromagnetic ordering at room temperature in Ni incorporated TiO2 films is revealed by M–H measurements. Calculated values of saturation magnetization indicate that the observed ferromagnetism is not due to the presence of Ni clusters or segregation of other ferromagnetic phase. Electrically insulating nature of the films suggests that the observed FM ordering is most probably due to the ferromagnetic interaction between bound magnetic polarons which formed due to the creation of oxygen vacancies or defects.