16 Mar

Overall sports sponsorship in India grew 17% in 2019 to exceed Rs 9,000 crore (US$1.2bn) according to the ‘Sporting Nation in the Making’, an annual report by ESP Properties- the entertainment and sports division of GroupM India.

The growth was primarily driven by media spends and on-ground sponsorship around cricket with the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the ICC World Cup giving a boost to both on-ground sponsorships and media spends.

On-ground sponsorship grew by 25% to exceed Rs 2,000 crore for the first time, while media spends were up by 18% at Rs 5,232 crore (US$732.5m).

Spends across digital media leapt up by 84% to Rs 875 crore (US$122.5m) during the year, compared to Rs 475 crore (US$ 66.5m) in 2018, the report stated.

Cricket alone contributed Rs 1,290 crore (US$180.6m) to the overall on-ground sponsorship of Rs 2006 crore (US$281m). It was followed by football Rs 140 crore (US$19.6m), Kabaddi Rs 128 crore (US$17.9), Marathon Rs 123 crore (US$7.22m), Golf Rs 54 crore (US$7.6m) and other sports Rs 272 crore (US$38.1m).

BCCI home series deals saw double the jump in sports sponsorship amounts. Paytm’s bid was at 58% incremental value in comparison to the previous per match value. Dream11, Lafarge Holcim (ACC Cement and Ambuja Cement), Hyundai will be the official sponsors for the next four years. At Rs 2.59 crore (US$363k) per match, the three sponsors will layout 73% more than the previous round.

Football, meanwhile, witnessed de-growth of 6% as the Indian Super League (ISL) central sponsorships could not match up to the 2018 deliveries. Kabaddi, in the absence of fresh infusion of energy, struggled with the growth conundrum and declined by 15%, thereby dropping below football in overall value to the No. 3 position.

“Indian sports industry is on an upward trajectory breaking new grounds year-on-year. While cricket proved its dominance in 2019, overall the last 5 years the industry has doubled its size,” said Vinit Karnik, business head, SP Properties.

Karnik added that the business of sports has grown at a CAGR of 12.8% over the last decade, making it one of the strong pillars of the Indian economy. “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.”

The endorsement industry grew by 11% to Rs 537 crore (US$75.2m) where cricketers contributed the most. Almost 85% of total brand endorsements have come from cricketers, and Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni cornered 63% of the total brand endorsements.

A total of 329 endorsement deals took place out of which 228 brands signed up with cricketers.

The non-cricketing space was dominated by women athletes, including PV Sindhu, Mary Kom, Hima Das and Sakshi Malik.

John Stephenson



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