India looks beyond cricket, Olympics viewership a game changer

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Mumbai | Updated: Aug 20, 2016 6:52 AM

After a dismal performance at Olympics, India has finally managed to win hearts and medals as women athletes — Dipa Karmakar, Sakshi Malik and PV Sindhu — created history at Rio.

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In ESP Properties’ Sportzpower report, released in April this year, women athletes like Mary Kom, Saina Nehwal and Sania Mirza accounted for 40% of the total endorsement value among non-cricketers. While releasing the report, Vinit Karnik, business head, ESP Properties highlighted how there is growth potential in individual segment.

“We do pre-empt brands showing interest in athletes like PV Sindhu, Sakshi Malik, Dipa Karmakar, Manavjit Singh Sandhu and Shiva Thapa among others, however what will make us a truly sporting nation is when infrastructure and funds happen from grassroot levels,” says Karnik.

“In India we talk about athletes only around big event like Olympics, commonwealth games etc… It’s high time we as a country rise and start supporting athletes really early on and help them with world class training facilities and support staff,” he added.

Many believe the wins and medals will change the way the event is perceived in the future and also attract sponsorships. According to Gossain, as the cost of brand association is low (at country contingent level and in terms of associating with sports people), brands are finding the return on investment (RoI) attractive.

This year saw huge participation from corporates such as Adani, JSW, Herbalife, Amul, Edelweiss, Li-Ning (Apparel), Tata Salt in sponsoring the Rio contingent. Adani and JSW took up Olympic funding through a CSR route where they funded the training of a number of athletes.

This year too has marked a great difference in the way Olympics are perceived. Massive eyeballs and conversations have initiated across physical and social media.

“Twitter trends, Facebook walls — everything is talking about Olympics. Although we are way behind countries like China where Olympics is like a mainstream slotted TV content, but we are making significant progress,” says Hitesh Gossain, founder & CEO of Onspon.com.

In June this year, Star Sports, the sports broadcast arm of Star India, announced that it will air the Olympics on its eight channels – four standard and four HD – to give 24×7 coverage of the game straight from Rio de Janeiro. A first for the international sporting event in India.

The games commenced on August 5. According to BARC India, the opening ceremony across all the nine channels (Doordarshan, Star Sports 1, 2, 3, 4 (SD+HD) channels) garnered 0.5 million impressions (TG: All India, 4+).

The telecast across channels for cumulatively 950 hours, Olympics in the first 7 days (August 6-12) garnered 210.9 million impressions. The event is also being aired on HotStar — the network’s OTT platform.

In the recent past, the non-cricketing events have generated huge interest amongst Indians especially on the internet.

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