GroupM ESP, the Sports & Entertainment arm of GroupM, and SportzPower, a leading provider of sports business news and knowledge, have collaborated to bring a comprehensive report on sports sponsorship, which captures the trends and developments in the Indian sports industry from 2008 to 2013.
The report, which is touted as first-of-its-kind for the Indian sports industry, documents important events during these years, including the emergence of league-format sports in India, such as the Indian Premier League (IPL), Hockey India League (HIL), and Indian Badminton League (IBL). The report also traces developments in the Indian sports industry when sports business was in its nascent stages. The insights the study provides serve as an ideal ready reckoner on where the sports industry is positioned in India today, and guides brands to plan their investments in sports marketing and sponsorship.
Further elaborating on the future of sports marketing in India, CVL Srinivas, CEO, GroupM, South Asia said, “This decade will be transformational for sports in India with a spectator base of over a billion people, a dozen sports television channels beaming content round the clock and a rapidly growing list of keen corporates and brands waiting to invest in cricket and other alternate sports. In the next few years, marketing investment in sports will no longer be peripheral, but parallel to that of entertainment and mainstream cinema.”
The Report examined advertising investments in Indian sport from four angles – On Ground, Team Sponsorship, Athlete Management, and Media Spends, and offers a comprehensive overview of sponsorship in Sport.
The key takeaways the study offers are as follows:
• Spend in sport in India are dominated by cricket, and within it, the Indian Premier League in particular.
• Sports marketing spends between 2008 and 2013 in Indian sport rose roughly two-fold, with a total spend of Rs 21.39 billion in 2008, which rose by 92 per cent to Rs 41.1 billion in 2014.
• The market is slotted to grow exponentially in the next few years with other sports like football, basketball, distance running, golf, motorsports, tennis, hockey, badminton and contact sports complementing the cricket story, since the real opportunity lies in these under-leveraged and monetised areas.
Focusing on the key developments expected in 2014, Vinit Karnik, National Director, Sports & Live Events, GroupM ESP said, “Even though the IPL is off to a rough start this year, in the long run accountability, better corporate governance, more transparency, are all good for not just the IPL, but the BCCI too. The successful launch of HIL and IBL has set the stage for an action-packed 2014 as far as franchise-based leagues are concerned in cricket, football, hockey, badminton, tennis, wrestling and kabaddi.”
According to him, the big news of 2014 will be the inaugural edition of the IMG-Reliance-Star co-owned Indian Super League, which is set to bring all the bells and whistles associated with the IPL to football. There is also the commitment that IMG-Reliance, the commercial rights holders for football in the country, has to improve the country’s top-tier soccer tournament. “The I-League clubs will be hoping that IMG-R walks the talk on that front, though the prevailing sentiment is one of wariness as to what the future holds,” Karnik added.
Commenting on the future of sports broadcasting in India, Thomas Abraham, Co-Founder, SportzPower said, “Indian sports TV broadcasting was, is, and will continue to be dominated by cricket for the foreseeable future, contributing to 80-85 per cent of the total television sports media revenues. However, other sports are also gaining prominence, especially football, though interest remains predominantly for international leagues/ tournaments. That is expected as the I-League improves as a television-friendly product and also with the launch of the Indian Super League (ISL) later this year.”
He further said that other sports such as badminton and hockey have also started making their presence felt because of improved performances by Indian players in the international arena, coupled with increased investments flowing into the two sports due to the launch of the Indian Badminton League (IBL) and the Hockey India League (HIL), respectively.
All in all, 2014 has more upsides than down. While there will be no Indian Grand Prix next year, there will be more leagues, sports like basketball are making rapid strides, and the whole wellness and fitness movement is gaining ever increasing traction, which in turn means more interest in sport as a participation activity and not just as spectator engagement.
Positioned at the intersection of media and marketing, GroupM ESP focuses on building clients’ businesses through strategic consulting and creative ideations in the field of films, sports and content.