Why the $$$s are finally going beyond Cricket

24 Nov,2014

 

Once upon a time there were the seasons for sports. But now with the various leagues in play, we have them all year round – be it the summer, winter or the rains. The formatting and packaging have led to even sports like kabaddi attract revenues and viewers.

 

We asked Vinik Karnik, National Director, Sports and Live Events- GroupM ESP, to give us his views on why and how non-cricketing sports are attracting sponsorship money. Here goes:

 

By Vinit Karnik

1. Increase in awareness about sports

New Age India consumes multiple sports and is exposed to world class leagues and formats. Real-time broadcast and analytics have ensured high degree of interest within the younger audience to watch and follow sports they like. This is leading to an increase in fans following sports on television.

 

2. Multiple language broadcast

Sports being promoted and broadcasted through multiple platforms and languages is the next big thing. This will increase the reach of sports in a big way. For instance, IPL 2014 reached a total audience of 191 million, Pro Kabbadi league reached 128 million. Expect ISL to create new benchmarks in terms of reach because of its broadcast strategy

 

3. Digital is the new Traditional

An increase in digital penetration has helped the sports business substantially. The live streaming of most sporting leagues helps fans to catch live action on their mobile phones or tablets while on the move. The world of apps help the fan with statistical data and trivia which they love to share on social media.

 

4. Improved performance by Indians at the highest stage in the World of Sports

The likes of Saina Nehwal, Mary Kom,Yogeshwar Dutt etc and the Indian hockey team have helped respective sports other than cricket stay relevant and aspirational

 

5. Mushrooming sporting leagues provide for more career opportunities for budding sportspersons pushing the performance envelope higher

Sporting leagues have generated a new ecosystem which develops high interest in the catchment areas. Grassroot development programmes ensure penetration of sports in rural areas. Very soon we will see young India take to sports as a profession. Talent and support functions both will be seen as professional careers

 

6. Sports is Entertainment

In a land where movies and cricket rules the roost, sports is slowing becoming an avenue of entertainment. Film stars investing in sporting franchise and sport stars premiering on TV or in some cases movies comes as a culmination of the two biggest passion points of India.

 

7. Multiple sports like Football, Badminton, Kabaddi and Hockey vying for No 2 spot makes for competitive pricing and lucrative deals

Sporting leagues are actively investing to make their sport the No 2 ensures a well-balanced on-air + on-ground entitlements packaging. Marketers will look at sports to involve and engage their target audience through their passion points. Sports will become one of the most effective and efficient way of engaging the target audience

 

With the sports industry on a high, advertisers have more options and opportunities to consider. Sports sponsorship helps and advertisers drive the communication in the most engaging manner. While advertisers chase eyeballs, sports is garnering more followers which translates into eyeballs. It’s a win-win situation for both and hence sponsorship in sports as an ecosystem is growing leaps and bound and will continue to challenge the status quo and create new benchmarks.

 

This article first appeared in ‘dna of brands’ in October 2014.

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