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Indian sports sponsorship spending passes $1.2bn, report says

Indian fans during the ICC Cricket World Cup 2019 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Nathan Stirk/Getty Images)

Sports sponsorship spending in Indian grew by 19 per cent in 2019 to more than Rs9,000 crore ($1.2bn), according to sports marketing agency ESP Properties’ annual report on the market.

Indian business news service the Economic Times reported that most of the spend was driven by media spend and spending on-the-ground at events, around two major cricket tournaments – the 2019 International Cricket Council World Cup in England and Wales, and the Indian Premier League Twenty20 competition. These two events accounted for Rs7,762 crore of all sponsorship spending, according to marketing publication Campaign.

However, total spending on football decreased by 6 per cent, and spending on kabaddi was down by 15 per cent.

Total media spending was up 18 per cent to Rs5,232 crore. Digital media spending grew by a massive 84 per cent, to Rs875 crore from Rs475 crore the year before. Television spend grew from Rs3,779 crore to Rs4,272 crore, while print spend fell from Rs178 crore to Rs85 crore.

Total on-ground spending grew by 20 per cent to Rs2,006 crore. In the category, cricket accounted for Rs1,290 crore, followed by football (Rs140 crore), kabaddi (Rs128 crore), marathons (Rs123 crore), golf (Rs54 crore) and then “other sports” (Rs272 crore).

Warc reported that athlete endorsements grew by 11 per cent to Rs456 crore. The report counted 329 endorsement deals, out of which 228 were with cricketers. Women’s badminton star PV Sindhu was the leading non-cricket athlete in terms of endorsements.

Vinit Karnik, business head at ESP Properties, said: “[The] Indian sports industry is on an upward trajectory, breaking new grounds year-on-year. While cricket proved its dominance in 2019, overall the last 5 years the industry has doubled its size…

“If we look further, we can see a strong [compound annual growth rate] of 12.8 per cent in the business of sports over the last ten years, making it one of the strong pillars of the Indian economy.”

ESP Properties is a subsidiary of advertising agency GroupM.