Cricket accounted for 87% share of Indian sports sponsorship in 2020: GroupM ESP Sporting Nation Report 2021

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April 26, 2021 2:39 PM

As per the report, mobile gaming saw an 11% increase in consumer engagement in April 2020

During the period of inactivity in sports, there was a significant step jump in the level of social media influencer activity among popular athletes.During the period of inactivity in sports, there was a significant step jump in the level of social media influencer activity among popular athletes.

The size of the Indian sports industry in 2020 is estimated at Rs 5,894 crores, according to GroupM ESP Sporting Nation Report 2021. As per the report, the biggest share of the industry goes to media, where advertisement spends on TV, digital and print media account for Rs 3,657 crores, which accounts for 62% of the total spends. Sponsorship spends including on-ground sponsorships, team sponsorships and franchise fee took up 28% of the industry pie, which translates to an amount of Rs 1,673 crores. Interestingly, athlete endorsement gained momentum in 2020 and grew 5% over 2019, despite sports taking a hit in the year due to the pandemic. With the lockdown being enforced and subsequent stoppage of play on the field, the void was stark with no visibility on how the anti-Covid efforts would pan out, Prasanth Kumar, CEO – GroupM South Asia, said. “Speedy responses and improvisations are on the go where what the situation demanded and among the many things the Covid-19 situation taught us marketers, was the need to be adaptable as the tide turns fast around us,” he added.

During the period of inactivity in sports, there was a significant step jump in the level of social media influencer activity among popular athletes. Here again, cricketers ruled the roost, with a 92% share of the pie. Of the 377 endorsement deals that happened last year, 275 involved cricket players. 2020 also saw female athletes pulling in brands.

The lockdown had also catalysed the growth in certain sectors. The absence of live sports along with a sub-optimal supply of fresh OTT content led to the shift towards gaming; the month of April 2020 saw an 11% increase in users per week along with a significant jump in average time spent per gamer. This led to a sudden boom in e-sports in 2020, with communities getting built and multiplayer activities gaining ground. Over the last three years, there has been a doubling in the gamer base as well as viewership numbers in the time.
Despite Covid-19 threat and multiple risks, India’s foremost sporting league, the Indian Premier League (IPL) got underway in UAE in September. Following this, in November, the Indian Super League (ISL) got underway in three venues in Goa with strict protocols and adherence to bio-bubble considerations. This was the first major sports event to be held in India after the pandemic; giving ample demonstration of our ability to pull off an event of this magnitude under such circumstances.

“Many sports properties were either cancelled or postponed and even sponsorship and media spends were impacted. But it is commendable how the sporting ecosystem reacted to this crisis taking into consideration the very fact that sports were back sooner than expected. Even in the face of an adverse context, the stakeholders came together to provide the spark the industry needed. The IPL and ISL are an exemplary demonstration of India’s preparedness to host major sporting events under such taxing circumstances,” Vinit Karnik, head – Sports, Esports and Entertainment, GroupM South Asia, said.

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