The Indian Premier League (IPL) seems to have set the ball rolling for the sports marketing industry, with brands releasing an advertising blitzkrieg during this year’s T20 tourney. Held in the UAE, Board for Cricket Control of India (BCCI) claimed to have earned Rs 4,000 crore from the IPL this year, on the back of reduction of costs by 35%. Now, all hopes are pinned on England’s tour of India in early 2021, and add to that the sponsorship raked in by Indian Super League (ISL). According to industry estimates, with advertisers returning to live sports, the sports marketing industry may finally come out of a negative cycle of growth to stay flat in 2021. In 2022, the industry might bounce back to a positive growth rate. As per GroupM ESP Properties’ Business of Indian Sports playbook, sports sponsorship industry in India grew at a CAGR of 12.8% over the last 10 years to cross the mark of Rs 9,000 crore in 2019. “A lot depends on the situation when it comes to sports sponsorship. In case of the IPL, it was anticipated that sponsorship rates would decline by 10-15% — however — it rose by the same rate. Based on this trend, it is expected that sponsors would bet on other formats of sports,” Yashwanth Biyyala, director, Baseline Ventures India Pvt Ltd, told BrandWagon Online.
In terms of the sporting calendar, 2020 was a crucial year — from Tokyo Olympics to T20 World Cup, UEFA Euro 2020, among others — now all these key tournaments have been postponed to next year. According to industry experts, a lot will depend on England’s tour of India scheduled early next year. “This year the entire cricket schedule got washed away. So if England versus India turns out to be a success in terms of implementation, then one can be assured that live sports of all formats especially cricket will return to India including the IPL – which may be played here,” said a senior agency head, on condition of anonymity.
Interestingly, analysts claim that next year, sponsorship rates may increase thanks to the precedence set by this year’s IPL. Much of the sponsorship will be driven by new categories such as fantasy games companies, ed-tech firms, and health-tech firms among others. The other set of new sponsors will be sports content sites such as sportszpari.com, parimatch.com, dafanews, which have gradually started to be associated with different tourneys. “Sponsorship rates will increase by 10-15% next year – if all goes well – then the sports sponsorship industry will find its groove back in no time,” said a senior franchise official, who did not want to be named.