India sports sponsorship grew 12% to reach Rs 7,762 cr in 2018

Hockey-MUMBAI: Backed by cricket and specifically the Indian Premier League (IPL), overall sports sponsorship witnessed a healthy growth of 12% in 2018 to touch Rs 7,762 crore as per the latest report on by ESP Properties, a division of GroupM, titled ‘Sporting Nation in the Making VI’.

The report notes that fuelled by IPL Central Contracts, cricket witnessed significant upsurge in 2018, jumping 6 percentage points to 56% share of the total on ground spends across all sports. While at an overall level the growth was 20%, cricket grew at almost twice that pace, at 34%.

While Kabaddi upped the ante, football declined from the 2017 levels that were bolstered by the U17 FIFA World Cup.

Emerging sports too saw positive growth signals during the year, Indian Super League(ISL) 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 HockeyIndia for junior and senior- men and women teams.


“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,” said Vinit Karnik, business head, ESP Properties.

Karnik added that with IPL now and ICC Cricket World Cup coming up, he also expects sports celebrities to be the talk of the town, monopolising consumer attention and advertising money.

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

2018 saw a 22% growth in athlete brand endorsement value, though big money continues to chase big cricketers.

Of the Rs 482 crore 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 Kohli leads from the front touching an endorsement value of approximately Rs 200 crore, PV Sindhu had a momentous 2018 both on and off the court.


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