Sports Industry spends surpassed INR 9500 CR in 2021: GroupM ESP’s Sporting Nation Report 2022

28 Mar,2022

By Our Staff


GroupM ESP, the entertainment, esports and sports division of GroupM India, has released the sports sponsorship report for India 2021. The size of the Indian sports industry spends is estimated to have surpassed INR 9500 Cr in 2021. The 9th edition of Sporting Nation in The Making, GroupM ESP’s sports report takes into consideration the sponsorship spends, player endorsements and media spends on sports properties.


With INR 6018 Cr, Sports Adex surpassed 2019 levels in both TV and digital. Cricket yet again, remains the most popular sport, accounting for 94% of the sports AdEx. The media spends on cricket in 2021 was higher (INR 5657 Cr) than the overall media spends of 2019 (INR 5232 Cr). The spending on sports celebrity endorsement grew by 11% year-on-year in 2021. A total of 444 brand endorsement deals have happened in 2021, with cricketers accounting for 318 endorsement deals and 87% of total brand endorsement value. The Olympic Year of 2021 increased Emerging Sports Athletes’ endorsements by 79%, accounting for 13% of the overall brand endorsement value.


Prasanth Kumar

Prasanth Kumar

Said Prasanth Kumar, CEO – GroupM South Asia: “2021 was a year of a major comeback for the sports industry. Not only in sports but we saw growth in sponsorships, endorsements, and media expenses in 2021. This year will also be a good re-start point for brands to invest in sports properties since sports will see a rise and will in-turn deliver ROI to brands. Apart from this, we even saw esports gaining significant traction and there was a major rise in the number of gamers in the country. Properties like PKL, ISL, etc. are also seeing a major rise in followers which goes to show that India is heavily invested in overall sports from an interest and inquisitiveness standpoint. As for cricket, we are seeing a growing interest by Foreign private equity giants investing in Indian cricket which is proving that Cricket will continue seeing a huge surge in India and with 2021 getting cricket back on track, we are seeing 2022 racing ahead, aiming to cross INR 10,000 Cr mark.”


Vinit Karnik

Added Vinit Karnik, Head – Sports, Entertainment and Esports, GroupM South Asia: “India as a Sporting Nation has finally arrived, overcoming all barriers brought in by the pandemic. Cricket being the hero of India, contributed 88% of the sports spends. IPL and T20 WC boosted the sports AdEx growth. We also saw emerging sports contributing 12% on the overall sports  spends. The media spends in 2021 were the biggest contributors, who accounted for almost two-thirds of all sports industry spending. While sports celebrity endorsement was on the rise in 2021, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu are the top athletes in the sports celebrity brand endorsement space. 2022 will be an exciting year with the Asian Games, FIFA World Cup, Premier Badminton League, and many more properties coming up, and the fans are in for a treat. The sports arena is an exciting drive ahead from the fanbase lens and the business lens too and we have a host of opportunities in the Indian sports industry.”


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