Sports sponsorship in India grew 17% to Rs 9,000 crore in 2019 as per the ESP Properties annual report on sports sponsorship, titled 'Sporting Nation in the Making. The seventh edition of the report reveals how cricket dominated the sports advertising sector with on-ground sponsorship recording 25% growth to Rs 2,000 crore. Overall industry saw a rise of Rs 1,347 crore, out of this Rs 800 crore was contributed by media spends, which recorded a growth of 18%.
Indian sports industry is on an upward trajectory breaking new grounds year-on-year. While cricket proved its dominance in 2019, overall the last five years the industry has doubled its size, Vinit Karnik, business head, ESP Properties, said. "With the sports industry growing at 17% in 2019, the momentum on sports with added thrust from the government provides a holistic opportunity for the sector. Initiatives like Khelo India and Fit India movement are drivers towards making India a truly sporting nation," he added.
As per the report, spends on digital rose 84% to Rs 875 crore in 2019 as opposed to Rs 475 crore in 2018. Meanwhile, TV continues to grow as the biggest medium for ad spends in sports. Moreover, 2019 saw fantasy sports applications growing fast as advertisers and this traction will be carried forward into 2020 also with new experiences for the Indian sports fan. Similarly, BCCI's home series deals doubled in sports sponsorship amounts. For instance, Paytm's bid was at 58% incremental value in comparison to the previous per match value. Similarly, Dream11, Lafarge Holcim (ACC Cement and Ambuja Cement), Hyundai, the three official sponsors for the next four years will layout 73% more than the previous round with Rs 2.59 Crore per match.
According to Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, the sports industry has been growing and has witnessed a significant upward shift in the overall ad spends. "We see more diverse audience indulging with this platform. Many innovations and leverage of assets in this space are powerful opportunities. As we are unfolding another decade, we see this space to be providing powerful thrust for greater brand stories," he elaborated.
The endorsement industry grew by 11% where cricketers contributed the most yet again validating the point that sports leagues and celebrity endorsements go hand in hand, the report stated. In 2019, 70 new brand endorsement deals had happened. 50 out of 70 endorsements were done by cricketers. While 85% of total brand endorsements have come from cricketers, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni pulled away 63% of the total brand endorsements. A total of 329 endorsement deals took place out of which 228 brands signed up with cricketers.
According to the report, the non-cricketing space was dominated by women athletes such as PV Sindhu and Mary Kom. PV Sindhu emerged as the leading non-cricketing athlete in 2019 in terms of brand endorsements with four brands to her portfolio, the most notable one among them was her tie-up with VISA that made her the first Indian athlete to endorse the financial services brand. Mary Kom also added four brands to her tally. Adding to their list of brands were track and field sensation Hima Das and Olympic Medallist Sakshi Malik too. All the women athletes added 11 new brands in 2019 takes the tally to 45 from 34 in 2018.