Spending on Teams, Franchises & Venues increased by 105% : GroupM ESP Sporting Nation Report 2023

Industry Watch | April 4, 2023 | News


GroupM ESP - the Entertainment, Esports & Sports division of GroupM launched the tenth edition of the Sporting Nation Report 2023 on sports sponsorship in India.With an eye on the scope, direction and vital growth drivers, GroupM's industry initiative strives to present a complete picture of the Indian sports business.  

Sporting Nation 2023 demonstrates the remarkable expansion of sports sponsorship in India. From 2021 to 2023, spending on teams, franchises, and venues increased by Rs 3021 crore, or 105%, bringing the total amount spent on sponsorship to Rs 5907 crore.

Sports Industry Spends:

- For the first time, total sports industry spending exceeded INR 14,000 crore.
- The contribution share for emerging sports has increased from 12% to 15%.
- With an 85% market share, cricket rules the roost.
- Media spends accounts for 53% of all sports industry spending.

Commenting on sports industry spends, Sumeli Chatterjee, Head, Integrated Marketing Experience at Coca-Cola, India and Southwest Asia added, “We are humbled for being a part of the movement, which brings together sporting talent across the world to represent their nations and create history. Sports at large is a sub-culture in India and a predominant passion point. We love to connect with our consumers and add ‘Real Magic’ to their celebrations. Like ESP we are privileged for being associated with sports and athletes across the spectrum, with our partnerships spanning across International Cricket Council, Indian Premier League (IPL), FIFA, Olympic and Paralympic Games + any others in India”.

The ICC T20 World Cup, Asia Cup, FIFA World Cup, and the return of sporting events and competitions like the PKL, Maharashtra Open, and Commonwealth Games 2022 are all cited in the report as contributing factors to the total increase in spending. With Indian women's cricketers making a name for themselves on the international stage, women's sports among Indians have seen a fantastic surge.

The sports industry is one of the better-performing sectors in the economy, with a 14% CAGR, and the research emphasizes significant features of how marketers are expected to approach spending on sporting events differently with the rise of OTT. For the first time in 2023, India will host the Formula E and Moto GP international motorsport championships.

Sports Sponsorship Spends: 

-Sports sponsorship spending on the ground, team, and franchise has doubled. 
- Spending on cricket outpaced 2021's total sponsorship spends.
- After a long hiatus due to the pandemic, emerging sports saw a staggering growth of 123% as Kabaddi, Marathons, and golf all resumed. 

Parth Joshi, Chief Marketing Officer, BharatPe added, “In India, cricket and movies are the two predominant sources of entertainment with a massive and enthusiastic following. Cricket still remains more a religion and less a sport in India with a massive fan following across different formats. As sponsors of the ICC world cup, we have seen great results in our advertising efforts. Cricket advertising helps build reach among mass audiences rapidly and sponsorships help build a brand, especially for young brands. It is important to note that success in this area does not always translate directly into immediate business outcomes. Careful and effective evaluation and planning are required to ensure that these partnerships deliver ROI as they tend to come at a significant cost envelope”.

A detailed examination of the statistics from the previous ten years will show that endorsement values have, for the most part, been steadily increasing. This demonstrates the growing influence that famous athletes have over the public discourse in the nation. The total endorsement value involving cricketers in 2022 added up to INR 637 Cr ($Mn 81), which is 85% of all sports, coming at a growth of 18% over 2021. 

Sports Celebrity Endorsement: 

- Spending on sports celebrity endorsements has increased by INR 124 crore, representing a 20% increase.
- A total of 505 brand endorsement deals have happened, with cricketers accounting for 381 endorsement deals and 85% of total brand endorsement value.
- The top athletes in Sports Celebrity Brand Endorsement are Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Neeraj Chopra, and PV Sindhu

Talking about sports celebrity endorsement, Utsav Malhotra, Chief Operating Officer, Noise said, “As a leader in the smart wearables space, championing fitness and active lifestylesport is clearly the most befitting marketing bet for us. Stars like Virat Kohli, Rishabh Pant and Rohit Sharma have enabled us to connect with the youth with strong affinity for sport and helped reach our audiences and land the brand message more effectively. Clearly it’s been a well thought out strategy that has worked for us to engage with our consumers”. 

In a year that saw significant upside in sponsorship and endorsement, it is but natural to expect a commensurable growth in advertising spends by brands on sports media. While the traditional advertisers, like the blue-chip FMCG brands continued to make their presence felt, there was a clear juggernaut from new-age sectors like FinTech, EdTech and Gaming, which were to a huge extent instrumental in driving the values for the year 2022.

Sports Media Spends: 

- Cricket continues to dominate the sports AdEx, accounting for 95% of all sports on TV and 90% of all sports on digital.
- In 2022, digital experienced a huge growth as all key properties performed well: IPL, World Cup, and FIFA World Cup.
- Edtech, Fintech, Gaming supported by FMCG brands drove Sports AdEx in 2022

Anil Jayaraj, Chief Executive Officer, Viacom18 Sports said, “Sports as a genre is unique in how it aggregates audiences and gets unmatched attention of viewers. Over the last few years, the sports genre as a percentage of AdEx has been continuously increasing, especially digital. This is a reflection of the growing sports culture where heroes have emerged from various sports and across gender. Our endeavour is to further fuel this passion by providing sports fans unmatched access to world-class content on their devices which eventually becomes a great opportunity for brands to build scale across the 700mn+ internet users”.

The past ten years have truly marked a definitive onward thrust in the commercialization journey of sports in India. With a CAGR of 14%, it was one of the better performing sectors in the industry, as the ecosystem embarked on the path to maturity at a quick pace. 

Growth of Non-Cricket Leagues:

Overall, cricket had not just hit a maximum, but also did it in style by clearing the ropes by quite a distance. Football saw higher ball possession among Indian fans with the FIFA World Cup bringing in a thrilling passage of play, to add to an already exciting set of options, which included European events as well as properties like the ISL. The PKL was back this year and was welcomed by Kabaddi fans, with the return of the leading Marathons in India hosted by major cities like, Mumbai, Delhi, Bengaluru and Kolkata.

Among the other events in India that made a comeback in 2022 were the Tata Maharashtra Open Tennis for men and the Indian Open Golf for women. Moving on from cricket, in another fresh beginning for Emerging Sports, two major international racing events, Formula E and Moto GP, will be held in India for the first time, as India speeds up on the track of growth.

While summing up the report, Prasanth Kumar CEO - GroupM South Asia added, “While 2021 saw the Indian Sports Industry recovering from the Covid menace and getting back on the path of growth, the succeeding year demonstrated the robustness of the ecosystem. After being in the wilderness for two years we saw the return of many events, much to the delight of the fans and other stakeholders. The universality of cricket in India has made it a trusted brand-building platform for businesses from different sectors in the economy. 2022 was a year in which Emerging Sports delivered a YoY growth of 87%, and we can expect this momentum to continue, given the trends we got to witness during the year. As our heroes win more at the highest levels, the respective sports disciplines will be benefiting through greater visibility, participation levels and interest from brands. The foundations of the thriving sports ecosystem in India lie in the way our fans view and appreciate the action from the field, and the visual media revolution in recent years has contributed significantly to this upside. With convenience being a big factor, OTT will enable a habit of watching programmes when it is suitable for the consumer. As we look into the future, technology will play a bigger role in the areas of content management and fan engagement, as nascent opportunities will continue to emerge, in Cricket as well as Emerging Sports”.

For editorial related queries, reach us at edit@eventfaqs.com

For the first time, total sports industry spending exceeded INR 14,000 crore while the contribution share for emerging sports has increased from 12% to 15%.

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