Cricket continues to dominate sports sponsorship in India

GroupM India’s entertainment, esports and sports division, GroupM ESP released an annual sports sponsorship report (h/t BusinessInsider) for India for the year 2020 on Monday. This report takes into consideration – sponsorship spends, celebrity endorsement and media spend on sports properties.

The size of the Indian Sports Industry has been estimated to be at Rs 5894 Crores. As expected, IPL is the leading commodity in the Indian sports fraternity. Cricket overall contributed Rs 5133 crores which works out to a mammoth share of 87%. Other sports cumulatively contributed to the balance of 13%, which was an amount of Rs 761 crores.

The biggest share of overall revenue is the Media, where advertisement departments have spent Rs 3657 crores on TV, Digital, and Print media. The overall spend accounts for 62% of the total spends. Close to 28 % of the industry share is dominated by Sponsorship Spends including on-ground sponsorships, Team Sponsorships, and Franchise fees, with an estimated amount of Rs 1673 crores. The athlete endorsement grew by 5 % since 2019 despite the impact of the pandemic.

Courtesy of the pandemic, when there was a period of inactivity in sports, there was a significant jump in the level of engagement activities of social media influencers among popular athletes. Cricketers lead this segment too with a 92% share. A total of 377 endorsement deals were made last year with 73% of them involving cricketers.

As the sporting nations wait eagerly in anticipation, the stocks are highly in favour of endorsements from athletes. Last year also witnessed an 11% increase towards gaming owing to the lack of live sports and fresh OTT content especially in the month of April due to IPL. This led to a sudden boom in e-sports in 2020, with communities getting built and multiplayer activities gaining ground.

GroupM CEO, South Asia, Prashant Kumar Commented, said,  “With the lockdown being enforced and subsequent stoppage of play on the field, the void was stark with no visibility on how the anti-Covid efforts would pan out. And even without any activities, our sports heroes stayed close to us. They came closer by actively engaging with their followers on social media…”

He also added that the spontaneity of the flow of online content taught marketers that they needed to be adaptable to whatever situations were showing up.

Vinit Karnik, Head – Sports, Esports and Entertainment, GroupM South Asia insisted that there are many sporting events lined up in 2021, and fans might have to make choices between certain events in terms of what, when, and how much they wish to watch. This will obviously result in a  rise in demand for subscription viewing in live sports.

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