New Delhi: Cricket emerged as the dominant trend for the year 2019, the first of which witnessed big-ticket events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and the ICC World Cup, according to a report by ESP Properties, GroupM’s sports and entertainment marketing agency.

Cricket has emerged as the dominant trend for 2019 with big-ticket events such as the Indian Premier League (IPL) and ICC World Cup, says a report by ESP Properties, GroupM’s sports and entertainment marketing agency.

The first six months of the year is expected to break all records of cricket consumption on television and digital, monopolizing eyeballs and advertising money. With the start of the year dominated by cricket, emerging leagues may have to reset themselves to make their presence felt and stay relevant.

Another trend will be brands leveraging the inspiring stories of young athletes and cricketers. Brands that can use athletes and their storytelling power will garner massive interest from fans owing to mass media exposure through television and one-on-one engagement through social media. Federations and leagues will carefully evaluate talent contracts in terms of talent usage rights for self, sponsor activation and scope of engagement.

With social media becoming the primary engagement platform, the right balance between personal and public imagery will be most talked and debated in 2019. One can’t rule out a policy for talent on national duty for social media engagements and media appearances.

The report also stated that mobile gaming will take center stage in the competitive desktop dominant professional e-sports world. Unlike global markets, where professional e-sport tournaments take place on desktops, in India, e-sport tournaments are held on the mobile with games such as Player Unknown’s Battlegrounds (PubG). There will be many more such mobile e-sport tournaments.

Moreover, increasing insistence on player access as a ‘sponsorship right’ in the sporting ecosystem is bound to blur lines of personal endorsements. With the professional sporting ecosystem in India being over a decade old, advertisers have started looking at ‘sponsorship’ as a one-stop solution to media exposure and talent access.

In terms of the entertainment industry, the report highlighted that experimental content is facing challenges to release in large scale formats like cinemas. With newer digital platforms and content taking center stage, storytelling will be redefined with a lot of experimentation and fresh feel. More original content from video streaming platforms will keep viewers engaged.

Meanwhile, broadcasting platforms will lean on data-driven insights and player access to engage and build fans.

“The year 2019 will be a year for sports and entertainment. With cricket on our minds for more than half the year, brands would want to revolve their game around the sport and the athletes. E-sport is also becoming big, it has come a long way, and it is only expected to get bigger. With almost 20% of share of spend expected in digital, ad spends in sports and entertainment marketing are expected to grow and evolve," said Vinit Karnik, business head at ESP Properties India.

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