Sports spends grew by 49% in 2022: GroupM ESP report

Indian sports industry surpasses Rs 14,000 crore in spends

by Team PITCH
Published - April 05, 2023
4 minutes To Read
Sports spends grew by 49% in 2022: GroupM ESP report

GroupM ESP (the Entertainment, Esports & Sports division of GroupM), launched the tenth edition of ‘Sporting Nation in the Making’ this week, providing a comprehensive view of the Indian Sports Industry, with an eye on the scale, direction, and crucial growth drivers. Be it IPL, a property that has been the money-spinner for years, or cricket as a whole which has an all-pervading following in the country, the sport contributed to a mammoth 85% of the total Sports Industry revenue, which equates to INR 12115cr ($Mn 1534)! As far as football is concerned, India hasn’t seen participation as a team in the high octane matches of the FIFA World Cup and yet WC was like the icing on the cake for the Indian fans of the world’s favourite team sport. Also, after a long hiatus due to the pandemic, emerging sports saw a staggering growth of 123% as Kabaddi, Marathons, and Golf resumed.

The report explores the twists and turns of the Sports Sponsorship Industry in India in 2022, and quantifies it from three angles – Sponsorship (inclusive of On Ground Sponsorship Spends, Team Sponsorship Spends and Franchise Fee), Sports Celebrity Spends, and Sports Media Spends. All these streams put together, India saw a total revenue of INR 14209cr ($Mn 1799), which in terms of year-on-year incremental delivery, reflects a growth rate of 49% over 2021. For an industry that has been habituated to emphatic annual growths for over a decade, the slowdown caused by the pandemic in 2020 was a major jolt, even as 2021 saw us getting back on the growth track. Hence, this disproportionate delta we saw in 2022 was well and truly indicative of a resumption of normal services in an industry that has been seeing a rising graph over the years.

Sports Sponsorship saw the biggest upswing among the three factors under consideration here, leapfrogging to INR 5907cr ($Mn 748) with a growth of 105%. This doubling impact is the result of a combination of factors like favourable schedules, scaling up of properties, synergistic functioning of the industry players within the ecosystem, and of course, the market acceptance of the treat that was laid out for the fans.

2022 also saw Sports Celebrities getting associated with more brands, with the Athlete Endorsement value recording an amount of INR 749cr ($Mn 95), which was 20% higher than what the stars earned from brands in the previous year. This rising curve is certainly indicative of the influence sportspersons wield over us, owing to the fact that while they win against competition on the field, they also win the hearts of the fans.

A little over half the total industry spends, 53% to be precise, were incurred on account of Advertising Expenses on Media. In terms of absolute value, this works out to a total amount of INR 7553cr ($Mn 957) at a YoY growth of 26%. TV stands on a pedestal, with a contribution of 73%, including Cricket and all Emerging Sports, imputing an aggregate amount of INR 5506 Cr ($Mn 697), at a growth of 9% over 2021. While TV stands tall, digital medium is catching up fast in sports as well as other facets of life. Recent years have seen rapid adoption of OTT medium in Indian households, to such a point that we are at the cusp of a digital mainstreaming. While the traditional advertisers, like the blue-chip FMCG brands continued to make their presence felt, there was a clear juggernaut from new-age sectors like FinTech, EdTech and Gaming, which were to a huge extent instrumental in driving the values for the year 2022.

The report says that while the digital revolution will certainly play a bigger role in the future, traditional TV is performing a monumental role today, and will need to keep doing so in sports broadcasting. With the ever-evolving technological landscape in the backdrop, digital medium has been growing at an express pace now, and in 2022, we saw a gargantuan YoY growth of 112%, by accumulating an ad revenue of INR 2045cr ($Mn 259)! It contributed to 27% of all media spends in 2022; the corresponding number just one year back was just 16%! While the confluence of cricket and TV is the sweet spot for marketing behemoths, we can also observe a greater propensity in advertisers to experiment with involvement in online streaming of Emerging Sports where they can operate with lower ticket sizes. In view of the evolving consumer preferences, and the onrush of tech-driven shifts, we can expect OTT to drive a digital groundswell in sports media advertising sooner than later.

The industry touched the INR 100 billion mark for the first time, but the way in which it was achieved was impactful and with the emergence of WPL, the INR 200 billion is just round the corner.