According to a new report titled ‘The Business of Sports’, Indian sports viewership (TV) numbers grew by 30 per cent over the two year period between 2014 and 2015, while in 2015, the Indian sports sponsorship market grew 6.7 per cent YoY to Rs 5,190 crore. The report was released by KPMG in India in association with CII during the Summit on Business of Sports and Entertainment held in Mumbai yesterday.
“Online consumption (digital rights, social media, etc.) have increased significantly. Even though cricket still occupies a share of 50-60 per cent across parameters like viewership, other sports are also catching up. Female viewership is also increasing with it being as high as 20-30 per cent for some sports,” said Jaideep Ghosh, Partner and Head (Transport, Leisure and Sports) KPMG in India.
Ghosh was speaking at a panel discussion on corporatization in sports held on the sidelines of the launch. He gave the example of the La Liga (Spain’s premier football league) changing its timings to suit viewers in the sub continent as an example of the growing significance of sports.
The panel comprised of Anshu Jindal, CEO of IMG Reliance, Karan Ahluwalia, President and Country Head (Media & Entertainment, Luxury & Sports) of Yes Bank, Vinit Karnak, Business Head (Entertainment, Sports and Live Events) of GroupM, Sam Balsara, Chairman and Managing Director, Madison World and Chairman, PMG, Prof. Sanjeev Tripathi, Faculty, IIM Ahemdabad. The session was moderated by Harsha Bhogle.
Ahulwalia stated that Yes Bank is bullish about non-cricket sports and are seeing growth among other sports in the country. “ISL is the third most watched sports league in the country. With the next generation, we will truly be a multi-sports nation,” he said. Karnik opined that though corporate are investing in sports other than cricket, they don’t necessarily take a long term view with most of the sponsorships being opportunistic. “One needs to invest for at least 5-10 years to get something out of it,” he said.
Balsara informed that the rights of the 1987 Cricket World Cup, also known as the Reliance Cup for sponsorship reasons, had been bought for Rs 4.17 crore. “At that time the Indian advertising market was around Rs 1,000 crore while right now it is around Rs 50,000 crore. So, in this context, the business of sports has not grown that much,” he opined. He further stated that business implies profit, which will be a primary aim for any corporate entering the sports market.
“Promoters would do well to chose their benefactors with care. They (benefactors) should be far-sighted or they will end up doing more damage to the sport. A lot of the league and franchise owners are in it for the profit. They must have the orientation and risk appetite to wait that long,” he said.
On being asked whether clients were looking to associate with non-cricket sports, Karnik said that though this was happening it was more tactical than strategic. “Are we building a sporting culture? Advertisers will look at reach and numbers, once we get it through grassroot development, ad money will come. In the last 10 years, this has happened with the likes of Sania Nehwal and Mary Kom getting a lot of endorsements,” he said.
The panellists also agreed that any sports required the support of the media to become successful. One example that was given was India’s win at the 1983 Cricket World Cup, which happened alongside a rise of television penetration in India.
Speaking about the success of the Pro Kabaddi League (PKL), a sport usually seen as more popular in smaller cities and towns, Ghosh opined that some of the reasons for its popularity were great packaging of the content and a pent-up demand as the country moves towards a multi-sports mindset.
“Kabaddi created a revolution in terms of multimedia packaging; a ‘rurban’ revolution. It made heroes of even the coaches. We have seen typically regional brands associating with teams as sponsors,” said Ahluwalia.