There is no doubt that sports marketing as a genre in India is steadily growing, with majority of the revenue being extracted from cricket sponsorships, activation and endorsements. It is well known that the Indian market is still nascent, and while this is true, there are global networks that are looking at India as their future market. Havas Sports, the sports marketing arm of the Havas Group, which is fairly active in India during cricketing events – particularly IPL, is all geared up to take bigger strides and cash-in on the growth opportunities, not only in cricket, but in other events as well.
According to Lucien Boyer, Global CEO, Havas Sports and Entertainment, who is currently in India attending the Commonwealth Games in Delhi, India was certainly a market full of potential. Speaking to exchange4media on the market here, he said, “India is a clear leader in the world of cricket, but not so much in other sports such as football, tennis or golf. Cricket sells here because there is a large audience for it. We as an agency would have to cater to the industry demands. At the end of the day, one needs to balance it out. We’re able to do that because we have a global business and we bring some of that expertise to the Indian market.”
Sharing the company’s global philosophy, Boyer explained how each of their markets worked towards applying strategic tools to sports and entertainment to create a platform that delivered meaningful engagement between the brands and the consumer. As for growth, globally, the company has grown between 10 per cent and 15 per cent in markets such as the UK. “We are growing in most markets across the world and we are now able to handle global clients, with whom we are doing some fantastic work. So, in India, we leverage our international expertise in helping clients here and it works both ways,” he said.
Boyer further said, “We are keen to bring some brands from our US and UK markets to India. It is something we are going to develop upon, now that we have the capacity of having a global footprint.”
Sharing the success formula, he said that it was all about consumer engagement and creating a strong link between a brand and the consumer through experiential and content driven media platforms.
On the growth estimates for the business in India, Vishnu Mohan, CEO, Havas Media, Asia Pacific, said, “I think we should be able to grow by more than 10 per cent. The growth will be a reflection of the growth in advertising, which in my mind will be in the range of 10-15 per cent. What will give impetus to this growth is the confluence of content, entertainment and sports.”
On whether the company will look to organise more sporting events in the future, Anand Yalvigi, Vice-President, Havas Sports, said, “We have definitely proposed a lot of events to a lot of brands. At the end of the day, it depends on the fit and the requirement of the brand. In the last few years of Havas Sports’ experience and existence, we’ve had more sponsorships and activations, but as soon as there is a requirement, we will definitely get into events.”