Sports Sponsorship Registers 19.33% Growth in 2016 Reveals ESP Properties SportzPower Report

Industry Watch | March 17, 2017 | Feature

ESP Properties Smaash

The fourth edition of the “Sporting Nation in the Making” Sports Sponsorship Report has been compiled by ESP Properties, the sports and entertainment programming specialist arm of GroupM, and SportzPower- a leading sports portal. The report was released yesterday at Smaash, Mumbai and revealed that sports sponsorship in India grew by a little over 19% in 2016 .

Apart from an in-depth analysis of on-ground, media spends, team sponsorships, franchises and mobile and social media data, the new report delves deeply into the evolution of technology and its effects on the mainstream digital landscape as well.

Let’s have a look at some of the key findings from the report:

Sports Sponsorship saw a 19.33% growth in 2016 to INR 6400 crore as opposed to the preceding year and accounted for 11.5% of the total Indian Ad Expenditure. As has been the case for the last two years consecutively, cricket owned the majority chunk of sports sponsorships, but witnessed a 3% downsize in its overall contribution. Kabaddi saw a massive surge and raked in almost triple the sponsorship than 2015 at INR 122 crore in 2016.

The biggest growth driver for Sports Sponsorship in 2016 was the Media Spends show. Growing at 24.63%, it shot up from INR 2816.9 crore to INR 3510.8 crore.

On Ground Sponsorships

On Ground Sponsorship grew from INR 1030.5 crore to INR 1165.2 crore - a steady 13% growth in 2016.

Kabaddi rode forward like the proverbial dark horse and showed a momentous 154% increase in On Ground sponsorship, thus accruing INR 74 crore over and above earnings from the previous year due to Kabbadi World Cup and additional season of Pro Kabbadi League.

Not surprisingly, Cricket added INR 33.2 crore over its numbers in the previous year. Three new associate sponsors - Pepsi, Hyundai and Jana Financial Services – together accounted for INR 1.6 crore in additional revenue per match.

PWL took a hit allegedly due to demonetization.

In Other Sports, HIL and PBL were the only two sports principally driving On Ground Sponsorships upwards by 15% thus taking the figures to a solid INR 257 crore, from INR 223 crore in 2015

Team Sponsorships & Franchise Fee

Overall team sponsorship grew by 25.33%

Cricket as a Sport sprung forward on team sponsorship as compared to the rest of the pack with 51% more matches played in 2016 as opposed to 2015.

A whopping 22 new brands tested IPL waters in team sponsorship causing it to tumult forward by 9.5% in 2016.

Football, while trying to stay neck to neck with Cricket, instead witnessed a loss from INR 99 crore in 2015 to INR 98.2 crore in 2016.

Sponsors went down marginally for ISL as well with numbers dropping to INR 37.2 crore as against INR 38 crore in the year ago, period.

Kabaddi saw a 45.76% increase in its two-season swing - the highest by any sport Franchise fee pie has remained constant despite additions (TNPL, PBL & 2 teams in IPL) and deletions (WKL, CTL, CSK & RR).

The highlight of the year was BCCI waiving off franchise fee commitments of suspended teams CSK and RR until their return to IPL in 2018.


Endorsements overall saw a growth of 14.4%

Cricket as a sport saw a commitment of 72 brands whereas together non-cricket athletes secured 82 brand endorsements.

International athlete endorsements with Indian brands continued successfully in 2016 -Kanakia Spaces with Zinedine Zidane added to the list.

Rio Olympic medal winners PV Sindhu and Sakshi Malik contributed to Non-Cricket endorsements growing by 83.5% in 2016, from INR 42 crore to INR 77.1 crore.

Virat Kohli emerged as King Midas of the cricketing arena and had the biggest part to play in Cricket endorsements rising from INR 264.4 crore to INR 279.3 crore in 2016.

Media Spends

Media spends being the biggest contributor grew handsomely by 24.63% from INR 2816.9 crore in 2015 to INR 3510.8 crore in 2016.

On Air spending in Sport grew an incredible 34.74%, from INR 1756.9 crore to INR 2367.2 crore.

Cricket was obviously the golden egg laying duck with INR 1020 crore + net in ad sales revenues for Sony Pictures Network India, a good 25%+ over 2015’s numbers.

For the first time, there were separate SD and HD sales for IPL in 2016.

Women (41% including rural) and kids dominated the viewership pie for IPL.

Multiple events of international stature such as ICC World Twenty20, the Kabaddi World Cup, and the Junior Hockey World Cup enabled broadcasters to pull in higher ad sale revenues.

Media spending increased proportionately to live content duration which essentially increased in 2016 for all sports.

The Rio Olympics live broadcast made technology history in 2016 - simulcast on all eight Star Sports channels (four in SD and four in HD), the network’s OTT platform Hotstar’s 14 live feeds and 36 concurrent feeds with over 3000 hours of live coverage for a record 191 million viewers.

Mobile & Social Media

Cricket is on everybody’s mind and digital space with IPL dominating 79% of social conversations and 84% of searches.

In terms of numbers, IPTL audience is the most digitally active sports viewer and despite popularity, PKL has the least traction online.

Mumbai Indians & Kolkata Knight Riders are the only two sports franchises in India to have crossed the 10 million mark when it comes to Facebook followers.

Atletico de Kolkata is the only ISL franchise to have crossed the 1 Million mark on Facebook.

Virat Kohli is Numero Uno when it comes to digital numbers.

While PV Sindhu is the belle of the ball when it comes to social conversations and search volumes for obvious reasons; Sania Mirza is the reigning queen of Twitter and Facebook.

Year 2017

Digital and offline experience are now two sides of the same coin however there isn’t any picking in terms of heads or tails - game stats combined with video feeds need to seek out fans rather than fans seeking them out.

These very stats raised with data analytics can give athletes a deeper, more engaged insight into their strengths and weaknesses and enable them to stay ahead of the curve.

Data analytics is also influencing franchise owners, selectors and coaches to draw the best team combinations and to measure player’s on-field and of field value in a quantitative, objective manner thus working towards a more data-driven auction strategy and execution.

Virtual Reality can change the way fans experience sport making it more immersive even from a remote location and redefine community activated gaming a la Pokemon Go and maybe even sports itself.

2017 will spawn even more new league debuts - with Table Tennis creating a lot of buzz October 2017 will be the first-time India hosts a FIFA tournament and that’s huge not only in terms of events but also developing international standards of the six hosting venues.

A Digital Renaissance in the sporting realm is on the anvil this year with increasing participation from corporate houses and schemes introduced by the government – all efforts focused on the “consumer”.

The “Live” funda will remain central in the broadcast format despite evolving to newer, multiple platforms.

2017 will be the threshold year for More Gaming!

The report was released yesterday at Smaash, Mumbai and revealed that sports sponsorship in India in 2016 grew by a little over 19%.

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