The Indian sport sponsorship market rose to Rs 7,300 crore in 2017 according to a report compiled by GroupM's ESP and Sportzpower. This was was a 14 per cent growth from Rs 6,300 crore in 2016. In 2016, the sports sponsorship market had grown by 19.3 per cent. The decreasing growth percentage in 2017 was attributed to multiple factors that included the base increasing and the lack of events like the ICC T20 World, Olympics and the World Kabaddi World Cup (all of which took place in 2016).
Spending via sports accounted for 12 per cent of the total AdEx in 2017, up from 11.5 per cent from 2016. As per GroupM’s This Year, Next Year advertising investment forecast, Indian advertising expenditure in 2017 was Rs. 61,263 crores.
Media investments contributed to the largest portion of the pie (55% of overall spends), followed by ground sponsorships.
The report stated that sponsorship of non-cricketing sports grew in 2017. India’s second biggest sport by participation and attendance was football and it grew by 64 per cent.
The country hosted its first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup that became the most attended in the history of the event. Attendance for it was a record 13,47,133, surpassing China's 1985 audience of 12,30,976. ISL Sponsorship also grew by 22 per cent from the previous year.
The year also saw five new franchise based leagues – UTT (Ultimate Table Tennis), SBL (Super Boxing League), SFL (Super Fight League), Cue Slam (Billiards and Snooker) and P1 Power Boating.
There was a 25 per cent increase in franchise fees from developments in other sport as cricket remained unchanged. Thirty six new franchises were added across all new and existing leagues.
In terms of brand endorsements, unsurprisingly Virat Kohli led the list with 19 brands and INR 150+ crore worth of endorsement value. But there was an overall dip across sporting endorsements as Lionel Messi’s association with Tata ended in 2016 as did Tiger Woods with Hero Motocorp. MS Dhoni was second on the list, followed by PV Sindhu and Sachin Tendulkar.
Vinit Karnik, business head, ESP Properties, said, “2017 was truly the ‘big’ year for the business of sports. With Pro Kabaddi League emerging as the second-most popular league in India after the Indian Premier League, and the India edition of U-17 Football World Cup creating history in terms of audience attendance, has given sports sponsorship enjoyed a bull run. As popularity of sports grows in India, sports stars also expand their brand endorsement portfolios. Virat Kohli led brand endorsements with 19 brands and 150+ crore in value, while PV Sindhu leads the non-cricket endorsement space with 11 brands and 30+ crore in value.”
Thomas Abraham, co-founder, SportzPower, said, “With the 2017 momentum and the economy also looking up and set to grow at 7.3 per cent in 2018-19, sports is looking at an even bigger year. As the industry anticipates clarity on the structure of club football in India, among the new leagues on the horizon, volleyball seems the most promising. In the media firmament, while new revenue benchmarks are expected from television, it will be traction in the digital arena that provides real pointers to where the industry is going over the next few years.”