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Sports sponsorship industry grew by over 19% in 2016 in India: ESP

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MUMBAI: Numbers don’t lie, and the numbers in the fourth edition of the 'Sporting Nation in the Making' India sports sponsorship report speak for themselves. Compiled by ESP Properties- the sports and entertainment programming specialist arm of GroupM, and SportzPower- leading sports portal, the report states that sports sponsorship spending grew by a little over 19%. Spending via sports sponsorship accounted for 11.5% of the Indian AdEx (AdEx numbers from GroupM This Year, Next Year 2016 report) in the Indian market. While media spends contributed to the largest chunk of the pie, followed by ground sponsorship, the total size of sports advertising rose to INR 6400 crore / $941 million, a big jump up from the INR 5363.3 crore / $825 million garnered in 2015.

Apart from an in-depth analysis of on-ground, media spends, team sponsorships, franchises and mobile and social media data, the new report delves deeply into the evolution of technology and its effects on the mainstream digital landscape. Beyond mere number crunching, the report also strives to  educate  stakeholders  on  the  key  developments  that  could  affect  their  business,  offering  a roadmap to manoeuvre sponsorships going forward. The major insight of this report is that both Cricket and Non-Cricket held their own trajectory, and together pushed the industry forward. 2016 also seemed like a make-or-break year for some leagues, with some repositioning themselves to garner greater viewership, while others launching with a hungry audience  base. Indian Cricket was on a high in 2016, both on the field and off it.

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ESP Properties business head Vinit Karnik believes 2017 is definitely going to gain momentum in terms of the previous year’s high and opined, “The report insights are the key to devising more refined viewer engagement. Gone are the days of male dominance in sports viewership. The year’s biggest chunk of spectators came from women and kids. This is ground-breaking data for brands to take that much desired leap of faith and traverse new grounds. Cricket continues to be the poster child  for  sponsorships,  and  non-Cricket sports  still have  a  fair  leap  to make to  match revenue. However it is interesting to focus on the mushrooming of a very defined health and fitness consciousness within the country. Young digital India is breaking barriers and creating new records especially when it comes to live feeds. Their smartphones are their all access pass to the “insider world” of sports, sportsmen and their strengths and weaknesses.  Sports start-ups are trending and the success achieved by league-based events across multiple sports indicates a strong potential to consume sports other than cricket.”

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“Viewership data demographics have been an eye-opener in 2016,” emphasises SportzPower co-founder Thomas Abraham, and continues, “Demonetisation disruptions aside, 2016 was a great year for the industry and this year will be even more so. Team sponsorships may have experienced certain upheavals and newer leagues will change the sporting diaspora even more so this year. However, what remains to be seen is franchise sustenance, endorsement rates and the manner in which technology and data influence these numbers. We expect 2017 to only get bigger, not just on the back of growth from the leagues that are now up and running, but also from new kids on the block that are debuting in the year – Table Tennis being a notable one.” Thus, 2016 proved to be apocalyptic for some leagues that had risen out of the woodworks since 2011-12 and they finally culminated in imminent death

Going forward, a lot is in store for sports in 2017. The first two months have already provided an indication to what promises to be an action packed year for Sportainment. Digital and offline are now two sides of the same coin. Looking forward, ESP Properties and SportzPower expect India’s sports market to grow at a faster pace vis-à-vis the last few years, aided by government policy and an increasing demand for recreational sports.

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