The size of the Indian sports industry spends is estimated to have surpassed Rs 9.500 crore in 2021, according to the latest report by GroupM ESP. Titled, ‘Sporting Nation in The Making’ the report takes into consideration the sponsorship spends, player endorsements and media spends on sports properties. According to the report, 2021 saw an echoing comeback for sports sponsorships and media deals, as compared to 2020 when the pandemic took over and posted 62% growth in 2021.
With Rs 6,018 crore, Sports Adex surpassed 2019 levels in both TV and digital, the report stated. Cricket continues to dominate the sports segment, accounting for 94% of the sports AdEx. The media spends on cricket in 2021 saw an 8.1% to Rs 5657 crore growth in 2021 as opposed to Rs 5232 crore in 2019. The spending on sports celebrity endorsement grew by 11% year-on-year in 2021. A total of 444 brand endorsement deals have happened in 2021, with cricketers accounting for 318 endorsement deals and 87% of total brand endorsement value. The Olympic Year of 2021 increased Emerging Sports Athletes’ endorsements by 79%, accounting for 13% of the overall brand endorsement value.
India as a Sporting Nation has finally arrived, overcoming all barriers brought in by the pandemic, Vinit Karnik, head – sports, entertainment and Esports, GroupM South Asia, said. “Cricket being the hero of India, contributed 88% of the sports spends. IPL and T20 WC boosted the sports adex growth. We also saw emerging sports contributing 12% on the overall sports spends. The media spends in 2021 were the biggest contributors, who accounted for almost two-thirds of all sports industry spending. While sports celebrity endorsement was on the rise in 2021, Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu are the top athletes in the sports celebrity brand endorsement space,” he added.
Acceptance of visual media for live sports broadcast by fans led to a great demand of platforms like SonyLiv and Disney Hotstar who are now streaming a variety of sports for their audiences. We see the OTT space becoming more competitive in the years to come since India is adopting OTT for live streaming sporting action. “2021 was a year of a major comeback for the sports industry. Not only in sports but we saw growth in sponsorships, endorsements, and media expenses in 2021. This year will also be a good re-start point for brands to invest in sports properties since sports will see a rise and will in-turn deliver ROI to brands. Apart from this, we even saw esports gaining significant traction and there was a major rise in the number of gamers in the country. With 2021 getting cricket back on track, we are seeing 2022 racing ahead, aiming to cross Rs 10,000 crore mark,” Prasanth Kumar, CEO, GroupM South Asia, highlighted.
With an action-packed 2021, media spends in sports saw some heavy scoring in India as brands and consumers were brought closer by broadcasters. Technology also played a very crucial role in evolving the way people appreciate sports. The household penetration of TV sets in different markets over the country saw a major role in the growth of sports properties. With this, TV continues to be the largest medium since 2021 saw overall ad spends of Rs 5051 crore, which was a growth of 59% over 2020 and we saw digital spends touching Rs 965 crore.
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