The overall sports sponsorship saw a growth of 12% in 2018 in India, according to a report on GroupM ESP Properties, with the sports advertising grew to Rs. 7762 crores.
Cricket witnessed a momentous upsurge of 34%, thanks to the Indian Premier League Central Sponsorship that contributed to revenue of more than INR 600+ Cr last year. IPL franchise fee, amounting to approximately INR 291 Cr ($43Mn), ceased to be valid in 2018 rendering a year-on-year comparison irrelevant in that area, netting off this difference, contributing to the 12% growth.
The IPL Team Sponsorship tally saw a better year than 2017, touching INR 300 Cr for the first time ever with a significant 20% growth. IPL also plays the star act on TV as digital moves up the ladder. 85% of all ad expenditures in sports happened on TV in 2018. Digital grew at 44% as it was triggered by Hotstar and Sony Liv and platforms which continued to drive adoption and carved a niche for itself.
2018 saw a 22% growth in Athlete Brand Endorsement Value of cricket. Of the INR 482 Cr spent by brands on sports stars acquisitions, 81% was accounted just by India’s most popular sport. Two cricketers alone, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, pulled in 66% of all athlete endorsement monies spent by Indian brands last year.
Though Virat Kohli leads from the front, touching an endorsement value of approximately INR 200 Cr, PV Sindhu had a momentous 2018 both on and off the court.
Meanwhile, the Indian Super League (ISL) over the years had grown into a strong property with a calendar spread over six months.
Kabbadi had a good year in 2018, registering a growth of 31% over the previous year in on-ground sponsorship.
The Odisha government announced a five-year deal with Hockey India for junior and senior – men and women teams. 2018 also saw Tata Motors become the principal sponsor of Indian wrestling.
La Liga signed a three-year exclusive agreement with Facebook to show all 380 matches to users in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. With huge digital groundswell behind viewership trends, digital media should grow disproportionately in the future as a wider viewer base will attract more ad revenue.
Based on the events across various leagues, tournaments, sponsorships, and non-sponsorships, 2019 looks like a good year for cricket and emerging sports, which will give rise to bottomless engagement with brands and sporting fans in India.
Vinit Karnik, ESP Properties Business Head, said, “2018 was a spectacular year for the business of sports and 2019 will be another power-packed year. There will be a significant rise in sports leagues and tournaments since IPL has inspired other sports leagues such as PKL, ISL, and PBL.”
“From the IPL team sponsorship seeing a growth of 20% or for the first time ever to Kabaddi registering a growth of 31%, factors like these have given sports sponsorship a boost. With IPL now and ICC Cricket World Cup coming up we also expect sports celebrities to be the talk of the town, monopolising consumer attention and advertising money.”