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Indian sports industry spends surpass Rs 14,000 crore: GroupM ESP Sporting Nation Report 2023

Cricket continues to dominate the Indian sports sponsorship landscape, contributing to 85% of the sponsorship spends.

GroupM ESP launched the 10th edition of the Sporting Nation Report 2023 on sports sponsorship in India. The Indian sports industry witnessed a significant growth curve in 2022, with spends crossing over INR 14,000 crore.

Sporting Nation 2023 highlights the unprecedented growth of sports sponsorship in India, with spends on-ground, team, and franchise rising by INR 3021 Cr, a whopping 105% growth from 2021, making the total sponsorship spends INR 5907 Cr. The overall increase in spends was due to the rise in the number of IPL matches, the addition of two new IPL teams, the ICC T20 World Cup, Asia Cup, FIFA World Cup, and the return of emerging sports events and tournaments like PKL, marquee marathons, Maharashtra Open, and Commonwealth Games 2022. Indian women athletes and women cricketers saw a phenomenal rise, with the Indian women's cricketers making a name for themselves on the international stage.

The report highlights key aspects of how brands are expected to approach spending on sporting events differently with the rise of OTT, and the sports industry is one of the better-performing sectors in the economy with a 14% CAGR. Two big international racing events, Formula E & Moto GP, are to be held in India for the first time in 2023. The renewal of IPL Sponsorships post the 2023 season, BCCI Home Series Title & Central Sponsorship along with team India sponsorship, BCCI Home Series Media Rights, and the inaugural season of WPL in March 2023 will be the tipping point for Indian cricket. Overall, the rise of Indian cricket, the performance of Indian athletes and the number of emerging sports leagues have all contributed to India becoming a sporting nation in the last ten years.

The report reveals that cricket continues to dominate the Indian sports sponsorship landscape, contributing to 85% of the sponsorship spends, while emerging sports like football, kabaddi and marathon have seen a massive upsurge in the sponsorship spends, contributing to the remaining 15%.

The growth of cricket sponsorship can be attributed to several reasons, including the Indian cricket team playing almost the double number of matches, as compared to 2021. The Indian Premier League (IPL) contributed the major revenue by adding two new franchises – Gujarat Titans and Lucknow Super Giants, and a full house of central sponsorship.

Prasanth Kumar, CEO - GroupM South Asia said, “The Indian sports ecosystem is experiencing a revolutionary transformation, with athletes becoming influential role models for the youth and sports sponsorships gathering immense momentum. In this scenario, brands hold tremendous potential to tap into the passion and loyalty of Indian sports fans. Despite facing unprecedented pandemic challenges, the exceptional performance of the sports industry in 2022 reflects its resilience and unwavering commitment. As we move forward, technology will play an increasingly pivotal role in content management and fan engagement, while opening new and exciting opportunities in sports. Live sports will continue to be highly coveted as monetizable properties, making it a promising sector for investment."

Commenting on the report's findings, Vinit Karnik, head - Sports, Esports and Entertainment, GroupM South Asia, said, "The Sporting Nation report illuminates the explosive growth of sports sponsorship in India, a testament to the nation's fervent passion for sports and the industry's enormous potential for brands. With the rise of new sports and leagues alongside the unparalleled popularity of cricket, brands have unprecedented opportunities to connect with fans through sports. The report also highlights the burgeoning trend of sports celebrity endorsement, with cricketing stars blazing the trail. Brands can leverage these insights to tap into the power of sports sponsorship and accomplish their marketing goals with unmatched effectiveness."

According to the Sporting Nation Report, the sports celebrity endorsement market in India has seen significant growth, with a 20% increase with total value of INR 729 Crore. Out of the 505 brand endorsement deals, 85% of the total brand endorsement value has come from cricketers. The top athletes in sports celebrity brand endorsement include Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Sachin Tendulkar, Neeraj Chopra, and PV Sindhu. Cricketers' endorsement has grown by 18%, with Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, and Rohit Sharma endorsing over 30 brands each, and adding new brands in 2022. Other cricketers such as Hardik Pandya, Jaspreet Bumrah, KL Rahul, and Surya Kumar Yadav are also scoring big in the endorsement space. Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu continue to be leading the non-cricketing athletes leading the endorsement deals.

The report also notes that apart from cricket leagues, the successful hosting of several other tournaments like Indian Super League, Pro Kabaddi, the Commonwealth Games, Prime Volleyball League, and Ultimate KhoKho, along with the return of marathons and the Women's Indian Open Golf tournament also helped in building a diverse sports content portfolio in the country bringing in more eyeballs and creating multiple opportunities.

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