Sporting sponsorship in India grew to Rs. 9,109 crore, says ESP Properties, GroupM’s entertainment and sporting vertical. According to a report released by ESP, sporting sponsorship in the country grew by 17%, with the lion’s share of the growth owing to ICC World Cup and IPL, which alone accounted for Rs. 7,762 crore in 2019.

On-ground sponsorship grew by a significant 25%, touching a little over Rs. 2,000 crore. Cricket came on top, with a contribution of Rs. 1,290 crore of this sum, followed by football, a distant second, at Rs. 140 crore, Kabaddi at Rs. 128 crore, and marathons at Rs. 123 crore.

Digital sponsorship set a scorching pace, up by 84% from Rs. 475 crore to Rs. 875 crore. Television spend rose from Rs. 3,779 crore to Rs. 4,272 crore while print dropped by more than half from Rs. 178 crore to Rs. 85 crore. The aggregate media spend rounded off at Rs. 5,232 crore in 2019, up from Rs. 4,432 crore in 2018. 

In overall terms, the sporting endorsement industry grew by 11% to reach Rs. 456 crore.  There were 70 new brand endorsement, 85% of which came from cricketers. Cricketing superstars Virat Kohli and M.S. Dhoni between them accounted for a whopping 63%. 

Outside cricket, female athletes came tops as they endorsed 11 new brands in 2019 to reach a total of 45. Boxing champion Mary Kom and shuttler P.V. Sindhu added four each. Sprinter Hima Das and freestyle wrestler Sakshi Malik also endorsed brands during the year.   

Top cricketing body BCCI’s home series deals saw a doubling of sporting sponsorship amounts. Paytm’s bid stood at 58% incremental value compared to the previous per match value. Dream11, Lafarge Holcim (a Swiss multinational company that makes building materials and majority shareholder in ACC Cement and Ambuja Cement) and Hyundai will be the official sponsors for the next four years. At Rs. 2.59 crore per match, the three sponsors are likely to put out 73% more than the previous round.

Vinit Karnik, Business Head, ESP Properties, said, “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. If we look further, we can see a strong CAGR of 12.8% in the business of sports over the last 10 years, making it one of the strong pillars of the Indian economy.” 

With the sports industry having shown a growth of 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,” Karnik added.

Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, said, “Over the last decade, we have witnessed the growth of sports leagues and their gaining popularity across the country. The sports industry has been growing and has witnessed a significant upward shift in the overall ad spends. The passion and excitement that’s involved in this platform have only strengthened. We see more and diverse audience indulging with this platform. Many innovations and leverage of assets in this space are powerful opportunities. As we are unfolding another decade, we see this space to be providing powerful thrust for greater brand stories.”