Media ad spends on sports properties increased 9% to Rs 4432 cr in 2018: ESP Properties

MUMBAI: The media spends on sports properties has increased 9% to Rs 4432 crore in 2018 from Rs 4065 crore a year ago, according to GroupM-owned ESP Properties’ 2019 report on sports sponsorship in India.

The report further stated that 85% of all ad expenditures in sports happened on TV in 2018. The TV AdEx on sports properties increased 12% to Rs 3779 crore compared to Rs 3379 crore in 2017. It also noted that TV ad spends growth was slower as Star managed a steep increase in IPL rates, leaving advertisers with lesser budgets to spend on other sports properties.

Digital AdEx on zoomed 44% to Rs 475 crore as against Rs 330 crore. The growth was triggered by video on demand (VoD) platforms Hotstar and SonyLIV. These platforms, the report stated, continued to drive adoption and carved a niche for themselves.

The print AdEx on sports properties more than halved to Rs 178 crore from Rs 356 crore as ad spends shifted to digital.

The report titled ‘Sporting Nation in the Making VI’ stated that the overall sports sponsorship saw a healthy growth of 12% in 2018. Sports advertising grew to Rs. 7762 crore.

Cricket has gained the ground as Indian Premier League (IPL) hit a maximum. While an overall level of the growth of on-ground sponsorship was 20%, cricket witnessed a momentous upsurge of 34% with IPL Central Sponsorship contributed to revenue of more than Rs 600+ crore ($88+ million) in 2018.

IPL franchise fee, amounting to approximately Rs 291 crore ($43 million), ceased to be valid in 2018 rendering a year-on-year comparison irrelevant in that area, netting off this difference, contributing to the 12% growth.

The IPL Team Sponsorship tally had a better year, touching Rs 300 crore ($44 million) for the first time ever saw a growth of a significant 20%. IPL also plays the star act on TV as digital moves up the ladder.

Emerging sports too saw positive growth signals. ISL (Indian Super League) over the years had grown into a strong property with a calendar spread over six months. Kabbadi 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. Year also saw Tata Motors become the principal sponsor of Indian wrestling in the non-cricket team sponsorship.

Also, big money continues to chase the king of chases as cricket widens the lead over the rest of the sports. 2018 saw a 22% growth in Athlete Brand Endorsement Value. Of the Rs 482 crore ($71 million) spent by brands on sports stars acquisitions, 81% was accounted just by India’s most popular sport. Two cricketers alone, Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni, pulled in 66% of all athlete endorsement monies spent by Indian brands last year. Though Virat Kohli leads from the front touching an endorsement value of approximately Rs 200 crore. P Sindhu had a momentous 2018 both on and off the court.

ESP Properties Business Head Vinit Karnik said, “2018 was a spectacular year for the business of sports and 2019 will be another power-packed year. There will be a significant rise in sports leagues and tournaments since IPL has inspired other sports leagues such as PKL, ISL, and PBL. From the IPL team sponsorship seeing a growth of 20% or for the first time ever to Kabaddi registering a growth of 31%, factors like these have given sports sponsorship a boost. With IPL now and ICC Cricket World Cup coming up we also expect sports celebrities to be the talk of the town, monopolizing consumer attention and advertising money.”

La Liga signed 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. With huge digital groundswell behind viewership trends, digital media should grow disproportionately in the future as a wider viewer base will attract more ad revenue.

Based on the events across various leagues, tournaments, sponsorships, and non-sponsorships, 2019 looks like a good year for Cricket and emerging sports, which will give rise to bottomless engagement with brands and sporting fans in India.