Sports sponsorship grows 12.3%

06 Apr,2016


Sports sponsorship grew by 12.3% in 2015 to Rs 51,854 million in India. This number is 10.4% of the total Indian AdEx in 2015 as reported by GroupM’s ‘This Year, Next Year’ report.  This was revealed in a report sponsorship in the country presented by ESP Properties, the Entertainment and Sports arm of GroupM and leading sports news portal Sportz Power.


Into its third edition now, the report on the Indian sports sponsorship market discusses the success of non-cricket leagues, fan engagement and how brands can maximise value from association from sports.


Emphasising how sports can be harnessed as a successful communication medium by brands, Vinit Karnik- Business Head, ESP Properties said: “There is definitely a cultivated sense of understanding between corporate sponsors, sports teams and federations. A symbiotic marketing relationship has emerged within the sporting ecosystem in India. 2015 saw Sports accounting for 10.4% of the total media spend, which is a 12.3% increase from the previous calendar year. 2016 will be fantastic for not only players and federations, but also for brands and spectators, with a deeper engagement with sporting properties.”


“Sports other than cricket have successfully established themselves in terms of revenue and fandom within the Indian sporting firmament,” added Thomas Abraham, Co-Founder, SportzPower. He added, “Sports like Kabaddi and Football have massively increased sponsorship revenues in 2015 and we saw return editions of sports like Tennis and Hockey as well. The successful launch of the Pro Wrestling League bodes well for 2016, which will see the advent of more franchise based leagues. We expect 2016 to be a good year for Cricket as well as Other Sports, generating ad spends and clocking in corporate investments at an exponential pace.”


2016 is a big year for the sporting community, including emerging talent, federations, broadcasters and fans, adds the report. As the Indian market opens up to new sporting leagues and new forms of exhibition, there is great interest in sports such as Football, Tennis, and Running, to name a few. Brands that have made investments in sporting events early on are seeing greater returns on their investment over the last two years. With the advent of non-cricketing sports taking a share of the sponsorship pie, emerging talent is exposed to international players, better coaching techniques and greater interesting in their chosen game. With this kind of exposure, the next three to five years will also see heightened attention from broadcasters, as they look at newer platforms to increase advertising engagement, the report adds.


Executive Summary of ESP Properties-SportzPower Report 2016

Key Observations

> Sports Sponsorship in India increased by 12.3% in 2015, compared to the previous year. This accounted for 10.4% of the total Indian AdEx


> While cricket took a majority share of the sponsorship pie, non-cricketing sports were the growth driver in 2015


> Pro Kabaddi League’s resounding success paved the way for it being slotted as a biannual event from 2016 onwards


> Change in the landscape of Indian sports with the successful launch of the Pro Wrestling League. Pro Kabaddi League and the Indian Soccer League have successfully deepened their respective engagements with fans


> The build-up to the FIFA Under-17 World Cup in India will provide encouragement to emerging talent and investment in the sport locally, with world class infrastructure and facilities being provided in six cities


> International Premier Tennis League and The Champions Tennis League delivered second editions


> Hockey India League announced three new franchises to kick-start its third edition of which Ranchi Rays and Dabangg Mumbai continue to be a part of the six team league in 2016


On Ground

> On ground sponsorship for cricket in a year when IPL was the only big bang cricketing event grew a path-breaking 30% from Rs. 7,948 Mn. to Rs. 10,305 Mn.


> Despite the bad publicity and the shadow of the Supreme Court looming over the BCCI, IPL viewership and engagement was unaffected. The property grew by a solid 13.9% in 2015, to Rs. 5295 Mn


> Key brands that drove the cricketing upswing were Paytm, CEAT Tyres and MRF Tyres with a combined inflow of around Rs. 1,078 Mn. per year, increases the cricket spends by 14%


> Football clocked in a whopping 91.6% growth in ground sponsorships from Rs. 595 Mn. in 2014 to Rs. 1140 Mn. in 2015


> Hero Moto Corp for ISL at Rs. 180 Mn. as the title sponsor is the behemoth among the 17 (up from 10 in 2014) sponsors who collectively contributed Rs. 1000 Mn. + as sponsorship amounts


> A 32% rise in sponsorships at Rs. 470 Mn. was seen by Tennis in 2015. While Champions Tennis League added brands like Kotak Mahindra Bank, Gatorade and Grey Goose, title sponsor for IPTL – Coca Cola – renewed its sponsorship while also becoming a 10% stakeholder


> A massive 300% rise YOY, PKL revenue soared to Rs. 480 Mn. in 2015, that too without a title sponsor


> With Distance Running at 53.5% YOY revenue increase, PWL and HIL also drove On Ground Sponsorship from Other Sports to close at a healthy Rs. 2230 Mn. for 2015


Team Sponsorship & Franchise Fees

> Cricket Team Sponsorship saw a marginal 1.9% drop from Rs. 3,478 Mn. in 2014 to Rs. 3,412 Mn. in 2015. Drop has come on the back of less number of matches Indian team played


> 2015 also saw an increase of 48.8% in Non Cricket Sports, driving the market (despite the drop in Cricket) up by 13% to Rs. 2,170 Mn


> Football by itself registered a 67% increase YOY, to close at Rs. 603 mn


> PKL was the principal driver of increased Team Sponsorships in Other Sports, which saw an overall 38% upside from Rs. 855 Mn. In 2014 to Rs. 1,180 Mn. In 2015


> Closing at Rs. 240 Mn, PWL made up for its chaotic, unorganised debut by claiming hearts and fans



> The biggest endorsement deal of 2015 was delivered by Tata Motors, which signed its first brand ambassador in global football superstar Lionel Messi onto a two-year deal at Rs. 600 Mn per year


> If the triumvirate of M S Dhoni, Sachin Tendulkar and Virat Kohli remain perched atop the Indian endorsement pyramid, among female sporting stars, Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza and MC Mary Kom continue to be the Big Three in 2015 as well


> Virat Kohli stepped into the elite Rs. 1,000 Mn. endorsement club that Tendulkar and Dhoni already belong to.


> Endorsements from other sports rose a spectacular 90% from Rs. 221 Mn to Rs. 420 Mn in 2015, with Saina Nehwal, Sania Mirza and Mary Kom accounting for 40% of the endorsements pulled in by Non Cricket Sports


On Air

> Despite the challenges of time zone differences, the ICC World Cup managed to garner Rs. 5000 Mn in ad revenues in 2015.


> On Air Sponsorship increased by 6.8% YOY from Rs. 25,180 Mn. in 2014 to Rs. 26,900 Mn.


> Longer live content duration with league sports. Wider reach, consistent performance metrics of non-cricket sports help in garnering future spends


Mobile & Social Media

> 70% fans bring their mobile devices to share in stadia experiences


> 46% mobile internet users search for sporting events and news


> In IPL, CSK could not generate much online conversation despite a strong fan base, while in social media top three drivers are KKR, RCB and MI.


> With six digit Facebook bases, ISL teams are more talked about than the league itself, thus highlighting a clear divergence between team buzz v/s league buzz


> Likewise, PKL teams also cumulatively generate 500 times more buzz than the parent league


> IPTL, HIL and PWL need to focus on building more traction on their social media assets to be able to up their social and search numbers


> Sachin Ramesh Tendulkar still rules the social media with fans on Twitter and Facebook surpassing any other sports player numbers


Year 2016


> Sports teams and federations have developed a better understanding of marketing themselves and are in an evolving state of sync with corporate sponsors to ensure a symbiotic commercial relationship


> Sports needs a mobile amplification – the ways and means to harness mobile as a direct communication medium with the sports fan demographic are limitless, progressive and extremely penetrative


> IPL templated leagues for sports such as Table Tennis, Cue Sports and Volleyball are readying for their respective coming out parades


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