Accountability and return on investment in any medium is being closely watched by every brand, especially in times of economic slowdown. TAM Media Research has launched TAM Sports, an integrated data and insights service on sports, to provide sponsorship, advertising, brand placements and public relations data to advertisers, broadcasters and sports associations.
Industry players have welcomed this new initiative and stressed on the need for a credible measurement system in the sports industry, which would eventually help the industry and sports at large to grow.
Pradeep Hejmadi, Senior VP, TAM Media, explained, “Our objective is to stay independent, spread knowledge, convene forums and facilitate knowledge-based dialogue amongst vested parties. Going forward, we will focus on open house discussions to help sports federations share their calendars, and stakeholders to provide feedback, which would be held bi-annually. In fact, we aim to follow up on the conclusions arrived at during the discussions with a customised solution. We will also roll out TAM Sports barometer, an all-sport monthly report.”
‘It will make a huge difference’
Abhishek Verma, Head - Marketing and Communication, Neo Sports, observed, “Yes, there is a need for a credible measurement system in the Indian sports industry and the biggest benefit I find is that it will help identify the core set of fans or audiences that are related to the sport, and as a broadcaster it would help determine the market potential for each sport. As brands or even broadcasters or anybody else are looking forward to identify the growth potential and audience size and so on, there is lack of a credible system which will give you the exact numbers. So, I believe it will make a huge difference.”
“Sports also need stars and icons and cricket has had them, but other sports never had those iconic figures. One of the biggest reasons why other sports get picked up I believe is the emergence of a big star or an iconic figure, for instance, if an Indian wins say the men’s single finals at Wimbledon, then I am sure the interest among viewers and even brands will be very high,” he added.
Mahesh Ranka, General Manager-India, Relay Worldwide, said, “The initiative by TAM is certainly good, wherein it is also important for it to be a branded service, therefore, people would look at it as a benchmark to some element of measurement. There is a lot more that needs to be done when it comes to sports and measurement in sports as sports is not about television alone, but goes way beyond as sports touches lives of people. To me, however, it is a great first step taken by someone credible and someone who has a name a satellite procedure. So, naturally it brings an element of faith.”
He further said, “For audience to get interested in other sports, the media needs to make a lot of noise about the sport. Then you need to have heroes and administration that supports the sports infrastructure, which helps broadcast, and which puts in more money, besides brand associations.”
TAM Sports aims to come out with bi-annual roundtables that will be focused on open- house discussions to help sports federations share their calendars and stakeholders to provide feedback. In fact, whatever the outcome of the roundtables, TAM Sports will follow through and provide customised solution. TAM will also come out with TAM Sports barometer, an all sport, all encompassing monthly report that would mainly aggregate audiences by sport, pacing each sport year-on-year.
Looking beyond cricket
LV Krishnan, CEO, TAM Media Research, said, “The year 2009-10 is believed to be the year of sports as it has been getting quite a lot of visibility these days. The last 10 years have also seen brands’ involvement, both on ground and on-screen brand placements. In fact, between 2005 and 2007, we were one of the few countries getting into brand involvement in sports and we realised that this industry is on take-off mode.”
While cricket is the most popular sport in India, for the world it is football. Going by industry estimates, which were presented by LV Krishnan on the occasion of the launch of TAM Sports, FIFA World Cup in 2006 saw broadcast rights valued at Rs 7,200 crore with a global audience estimated at 1.5-plus billion. In comparison to the Indian Premier League in India, maximum payout per year (2009) is approximately Rs 900 crore, while the global audience is estimated merely over 150 million. So, what brings revenues for broadcasting? One way is to understand television audiences better. It was also learnt that if broadcast respected audience needs, brands valued it too, as today brands valued sports sponsorship.
Krishnan also shared that in the US, the annual television ad spends stood at Rs 320,000 crore, while sports sponsorship spends stood at Rs 50,000 crore, nearly 16 per cent. In India, on the other hand, annual TV ad spends were at Rs 8,500 crore, while sports sponsorship spends stood at Rs 450 crore, which was a mere 5 per cent. The essentials of sports sponsorship involve quality of television rights with the broadcaster and the organisers’ (sports body) understanding of the potential audience, which is through marketing the sport event to the right audience, building curiosity around stars of the show and receiving audience feedback through interactivity.
Krishnan observed that “An audience research can enhance sports bodies and broadcasters in building audiences. It would help sports bodies identify value proposition, to broadcasters, it would help estimating potential audience size, and for brand sponsorships, it will provide audience exposure to brands.”
TAM Media Research launches TAM Sports