Although, media spends remained at the top, team and on-ground sponsorships and franchise fees also saw a big growth. According to Vinit Karnik, business head, ESP Properties, “The report insights are key to devising more refined viewer engagement. It is also an indicator of a maturing sports market in the country.”
Women & kids are new sports-lovers
Karnik adds: “Gone are the days of male dominance in sports viewership. The year’s biggest chunk of spectators came from women and kids. This is ground-breaking data for brands to take that much desired leap of faith and traverse new grounds. Cricket continues to be the poster child for sponsorships, and non-Cricket sports still have a fair leap to make to match revenue. However it is interesting to focus on the mushrooming of a very defined health and fitness consciousness within the country. Young digital India is breaking barriers and creating new records especially when it comes to live feeds. Their smartphones are their all access pass to the “insider world” of sports, sportsmen and their strengths and weaknesses. Sports start-ups are trending and the success achieved by league-based events across multiple sports indicates a strong potential to consume sports other than cricket.”
The big growth in sponsorship happened despite not only demonetization, but also despite trouble at the Board for Cricket Control of India (BCCI), uncertainty over new franchises at the Indian Premier League (IPL) and teething problems with the new football and tennis leagues.
Several sports making their presence felt
The time of sports, other than cricket, has arrived. People are now liking other games and this gives a thrust to advertising spends on these least promoted and rarely watched sports such as Kabaddi. The reasons behind big popularity of other forms of sports include women’s increasing role in sports and the change in viewing habits as children and housewives who preferred other kinds of shows are now loving to watch players like P V Sindhu and Sakshi Malik. Advertisers are realising this fact and are now willing to spend big money on not only cricket but sports like kabaddi and badminton.
Kabaddi is gaining popularity
Kabaddi registered a big high in 2016 by bringing in three times the amount it did in sponsorships in 2015. While cricket keeps on getting the big money from advertisers, its contribution to the total advertising pie has come down 3% and its sponsorships grew by just 6% last year over 2015, from Rs 264 crore to Rs 279 crore. But non-cricket endorsements grew 84% over the same period, from Rs 42 crore to Rs 77 crore, indicating the growing popularity of other sports, also due to emergence of ambassadors from these otherwise less popular sports. On-ground sponsorship of kabbadi matches, which includes the Pro Kabbadi League, fetched Rs 122 crore last year, up from Rs48 crore in 2015. The Pro Kabbadi League also brought in Rs 62 crore in team sponsorship.
2016: great year for sports
According to Thomas Abraham, Co-Founder, SportzPower, “Viewership data demographics have been an eye-opener in 2016. Despite demonetization, 2016 was a great year for the sports industry. Team sponsorships may have experienced certain upheavals and newer leagues will change the sporting Diaspora even more so this year. However, what remains to be seen is franchise sustenance, endorsement rates and the manner in which technology and data influence these numbers. We expect 2017 to only get bigger, not just on the back of growth from the leagues that are now up and running, but also from new kids on the block that are debuting in the year – Table Tennis being a notable one.”
Virat: the top earner
The immensely successful Indian cricket captain Virat Kohli is the top earner in the Indian sports stars galaxy. Kohli signed 20 brands in 2016 with a collective endorsement value of Rs 120 crore. Dhoni’s brand endorsements came down from 15 in 2015 to 12 in 2016, valued at Rs 65 crore. Tendulkar too signed only 8 brands while his number was 12 in 2015; his endorsements for the last year are estimated at Rs 45 crore.
Sindhu & Malik are new stars
The women power is also gaining momentum which is a good sign for advertising sector. Olympians P V Sindhu and Sakshi Malik rule the non-cricket pack. Sindhu has signed a 3-year deal with Baseline in September 2016; it could be worth up to Rs 50 crore after factoring in performance bonuses, making it the highest ever for any non-cricket player. Sindhu signed half a dozen brands till December last year with a cumulative endorsement value of Rs 7.5 crore. However, non-cricket players are still far behind cricketing stars in terms of endorsement numbers as well as fees.
The report published by GroupM ESP and SportzPower has an in-depth analysis of on-ground, media spends, team sponsorships, franchises and mobile and social media data; it also delves into the evolution of technology and its effects on the mainstream digital landscape. Not only supplying numbers, the report also tries to inform stakeholders on the key developments that could affect their businesses, offering a roadmap to invest and manage their businesses rightly and fruitfully.
2017: more growth expected
The report as well the industry experts believe that the thrust provided by non-cricketing stars and people’s greater interest in games like Kabaddi and wrestling coupled with latest media-friendly formats make 2017 full of great promises; the first two months have been full of actions. The interesting thing is that the advertisers have realised that the digital and offline are complimentary to each other - two sides of the same coin. Looking forward, ESP Properties and SportzPower expect India’s sports market to grow at a brilliant pace, and things will be brighter this year due to sports-friendly government policy and high demand for non cricketing sports like wrestling and Kabaddi.