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India now a multi-sport nation

News, 17 April 2015

MUMBAI: Cricket remains by far the most popular sport in India, but the growth of the overall sports industry is being driven by football, kabbadi and tennis according to a new report.

The Sports Sponsorship Report 2015, from GroupM ESP and Sportzpower, looked at trends and developments in advertising and sponsorship, and said that the sports industry was worth Rs. 48,069m in 2014, a 10% increase on the previous year.

This increase is largely down to the emergence of various new sports leagues which are driving consumer interest and attracting brands, including football's Indian Super League, the Pro Kabaddi League and World Kabaddi League, the Champion's Tennis League and Indian Premiere Tennis League.

These saw the value of their team sponsorship and franchise fees leap 1,064%, from Rs. 70m to Rs. 745m.

"Sports marketing is finally coming of age in India,” declared CVL Srinivas, GroupM South Asia CEO. "Even though cricket has shown the way and continues to be the dominant sport, newer leagues are helping broad base sports and make it a great platform for brands.

"Digital, especially social media, is helping build a fan following much faster,” he added.

For example, the well-established IPL had over 550,000 social conversations last year the report said, while the ISL had around 200,000 conversations even though it was only in its first season.

But a comparison of sponsorship generated by these two sports illustrates just how far football still has to go to rival cricket in the nation's affections: cricket's on-ground sponsorship stood at Rs. 4,647m in 2014, while that for football was Rs. 500m.

The role of digital will be extensive, as the report noted a blurring of lines between digital and TV with, for example, the ICC Cricket World Cup attracting 25m views on digital.


It also suggested the in-stadium experience would become more social, pointing out that 70% of cricket fans brought a mobile device with them and would likely be using it during games.

Data sourced from IndianTelivision.com; additional content by Warc staff