Advertising spends on sporting events in India almost doubled in five years and while cricket accounted for most of it, other sports are on the rise, says the first ever sports marketing
report in the country.
Advertisers in the country spent Rs 4,109 crore in sporting events in 2013, 92 per cent more than the Rs 2,139-crore ad spend in 2008, according to the GroupM report that examined advertising investments in Indian sport from 2008 to 2013 through four parameters — on ground, team sponsorship, athlete management, and media spends.
While cricket, particularly the Indian Premier League (IPL), dominated conversation around sports, the report says that thriving niche events such as Hockey India League (HIL) and Indian Badminton League (IBL) marked the start of a sporting revolution in the country.
"The big news of 2014 will be the inaugural edition of the IMG-Reliance-Star co-owned Indian Super League, which is set to bring all the bells and whistles associated with the IPL to football," said Vinit Karnik, national director for sports & live events at GroupM ESP — the sports and entertainment arm of GroupM that prepared the report in association with sports news provider SportzPower.
The report expects advertising spends on non-cricket sports to grow at 20 per cent-25 per cent annual rate over the next three years with football, basketball, distance running, golf, motorsports, tennis, hockey, badminton and contact sports complementing the cricket story. Karnik pointed out that IMG-Reliance has committed to improve the country's top-tier soccer tournament, the I-League. "The I-League clubs will be hoping that IMG-R walks the talk on that front, though the prevailing sentiment is one of wariness as to what the future holds," he said. Several top marketers such as Vodafone, PepsiCo and Nokia, which have been traditionally investing in cricket, have widened their focus on niche sports. Vodafone, for example, has started making serious investment in badminton, football and F1.
Vivek Mathur, chief commercial officer at Vodafone India, said that changing demography, lifestyle and globalised economy in the last fewyears have led to strong following for other sports like football, tennis, hockey and badminton.
"This popularity of sports in India offers Vodafone as a brand a very effective, large scale platform to connect with its customers," he said.
Nokia — which spends about 10-12 per cent of its advertising budget on sports-related properties mostly cricket, in line with its concept of "one sport, one nation" — too has started sponsoring football events.
"Football is big in North East and our cricket sponsorships did not reflect a rub off, hence this association," said Viral Oza, marketing director at Nokia India. "Football is going to be big in India and we have seen the club culture grow at a very rapid pace; this is the principle reason behind signing up with FC Barcelona as India partners," he added.