Growth in sports sponsorships slowed to 12% in 2018: Report

  • Apart from cricket, emerging sports saw positive growth signals.
  • Indian Super League (ISL) had grown with a calendar spread over six months

New Delhi: Growth in sports sponsorship slowed down marginally at 12% in 2018 versus 14.1% in 2017, according to a report published by GroupM ESP, the sports and entertainment arm of GroupM. The total sports sponsorship in 2018 stood at 7,762 crore.

On-ground sponsorship grew by 20% and team sponsorship was up by 9% over 2017. Cricket witnessed an upsurge of 34% with IPL central sponsorship contributing to revenue of more than 600 crore in 2018. The IPL team sponsorship tally, touching 300 crore for the first time, saw a growth of 20%. Meanwhile, football dipped by 30 crore in 2018 which was a degrowth of 17%.

“Unlike other industries, the growth in sports depends upon the number of events that happen in a year. 2019 will witness massive growth owing to huge cricketing season which includes IPL and ICC World Cup. We will play almost 25 matches in India as compare to 15 matches that were played in India. Football numbers have downgraded because in 2017 India hosted oFIFA U17 World Cup but there was no such big event last year," said Vinit Karnik , business head, ESP Properties.

Sports witnessed 9% more media spends than the previous year with 85% of all ad expenditures happening on television in 2018. Digital spends grew at 44%.

“Television will dominate sports advertising but there’s a serious double digit growth in digital platforms as well. Since premium rights are with Hotstar and SonyLiv they will continue to dominate for next couple of years," added Karnik.

Apart from cricket, emerging sports saw positive growth signals. Indian Super League (ISL) had grown with a calendar spread over six months. Meanwhile, Pro Kabbadi League (PKL) had a good year in 2018, registering a growth of 31% over the previous year in on-ground sponsorship. This was further backed by Odisha government announcing a five-year deal with Hockey India for junior and senior- men and women teams. Tata Motors also become the principal sponsor of Indian wrestling in the non-cricket team sponsorship.

With a 22% growth in athlete brand endorsement value which stood at 482 crore , 81% was accounted just by cricket. Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni collectively pulled in 66% of all athlete endorsement monies spent by Indian brands last year. While Virat Kohli endorsement value touched 200 crore, badminton player PV Sindhu bagged 11 brand deals amounting to 35 crore.

Digital sports viewership is on upswing which has led men's professional football league La Liga sign a three-year exclusive agreement with Facebook to show all 380 matches to users in India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, the Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Pakistan. The report stated that digital media should grow disproportionately in the future as a wider viewer base will attract more ad revenue.