The fourth edition of the Sporting Nation In The Making India sports sponsorship report compiled by ESP Properties, the sports and entertainment programming specialist arm of GroupM, and leading sports portal SportzPower, states that sports sponsorship spending grew by a little over 19%. Spending via sports sponsorship accounted for 11.5% of the Indian AdEx (AdEx numbers from GroupM This Year, Next Year 2016 report) in the Indian market. While media spends contributed to the largest chunk of the pie, followed by ground sponsorship, the total size of sports advertising rose to Rs 6400 crore / USD 941 million, a big jump up from the Rs 5363.3 crore / USD 825 million garnered in 2015.
Virat Kohli, Pusarla Venkata Sindhu and Sakshi Malik, shone in cricket, badminton and wrestling respectively, and not surprisingly, the biggest brands came calling, says the report.
Sindhu and Malik contributed to Non-Cricket endorsements growing by 83.5% in 2016, from Rs 42.0 crore/$ 6.46 million to Rs 77.1 crore/ $ 11.34 million. According to the report, if Cricket endorsement has grown by 5.6%, in a year when the two long-standing endorsement titans Sachin Tendulkar and MS Dhoni witnessed drops in their individual brand portfolios, and many of the second and third rung of India’s Cricket talent didn’t really come up to scratch, it is singularly due to the exploits of Team India captain Virat Kohli, who had the biggest part to play in Cricket endorsements rising from Rs 264.4 crore/$ 40.68 million to Rs 279.3 crore/$ 41.07 million in 2016.
If in 2015 the aggressive Team India skipper had stepped into the exclusive Rs 100.0 crore/$ 14.71 million brand endorsement deal club that Dhoni and Tendulkar belonged to, in 2016 he went hurtling past them. 2016 was clearly Kohli’s year with 20 brands under his belt with a collective endorsement value of Rs 120.0 crore/$ 17.65 million, which incidentally, is more than what the other two members of the Rs 100.0 crore/$ 14.71 million club together pulled in. Dhoni, who had 15 brands in 2015, was down to 12 in 2016, with an endorsement value totaling Rs 65.0 crore/$ 9.56 million. As for Tendulkar, he had 12 brands in 2015, which had dropped to 8 in 2016 that, all told, was worth Rs 45.0 crore/$ 6.62 million.
The report states that badminton queen Saina Nehwal, Tennis ace Sania Mirza and Boxing legend Mary Kom (in that order), interject PV Sindhu in second position. Riding the wave of her Rio Games success, the Hyderabad-based shuttler signed a three-year deal in September with sports management company Baseline. Reported to be worth up to Rs 50.0 crore/$ 7.35 million after factoring in performance bonuses, it is the highest ever for any non-Cricket player.
By 2016-end Sindhu had signed 6 brands with a cumulative endorsement value of Rs 7.5 crore/$ 1.10 million. If one adds the Rs 13.0 crore/ $ 1.91 million in cash awards handed out to Sindhu in the spree of felicitations by Central, state and private bodies in the wake of her Rio heroics, that takes her well past Nehwal though.
Despite injuries thwarting her Rio ambitions and some fair-weather media reporting that followed, Nehwal held her price line on endorsement rates as well as the 12 odd brands that were on board in 2015, earning approximately Rs 15.0 crore/$ 2.21 million.
Coming to Mirza, she failed to hold the number of brands in her portfolio. If February saw the fairy tale WTA win streak that the Hyderabadi and Swiss partner Martina Hingis had going end at an incredible 41, the year also saw the break-up of the SanTina partnership. The on-court downturn reflected off-court as well, with the number of endorsements going down from 6 to 4, as too the per deal value from Rs 0.6-0.8 crore/$ 0.09-0.12 million in 2015 to Rs 0.5-0.6 crore/$ 0.07-0.09 million in 2016. Her appearances on behalf of brands in Dubai continued though, just about keeping her in front of Mary Kom, says the report.
Kom had 13 brands in her kitty in 2016, down from 15 brands in 2015. With the drop in brand count came a steep fall in overall earnings, which fell to Rs 2.5 crore/ $ 0.37 million in 2016, way down from the Rs 7.5 crore/ $ 1.15 million she managed in the previous year. Coming to Malik, the grappler from the interiors of Haryana signed 2 brands after Rio but it was the windfall of cash rewards and incentives, amounting to at least Rs 3.5 crore/$ 0.51 million, that most swelled the Bronze winner’s coffers beside the many appearances she made on behalf of brands.
Celebrated male pugilist Vijender Singh has been making waves since turning professional and has 3 brands - Ambrane, Maruti and 1 Suiting’s – in his portfolio that give him Rs 1.0-1.2 crore/$ 0.15 – 0.18 million. Singh also does a lot of appearances.
Team India football captain Sunil Chhetri entered into the brand endorsement world by signing with Volini in 2016. Summing up, all three components of Cricket, International Athletes and Other Sports together drove up Endorsements by 14.4% upside, from Rs 416.4 crore/$ 64.0 million to Rs 476.4 crore/ $ 70 million in 2016.