Overall growth of sports sponsorship in India jumped 17% in 2019, taking the value of the market past the Rs 9,000 crore mark for the first time, a new report has revealed.

According to ESP Properties, the entertainment and sports division of GroupM India, cricket – and particularly the ICC World Cup and the Indian Premier League – were major contributors to the healthy growth after pulling in Rs 7,762 crore of sponsorship, Campaign Asia reported.

On-ground sponsorship increased by 25%, crossing the Rs 2,000 crore threshold for the first time, with cricket accounting for Rs 1,290 crore of the total, followed by football (Rs 140 crore), Kabaddi (Rs 128 crore) and marathons (Rs 123 crore).

Digital shot up by an impressive 84% from Rs 475 crore to Rs 875 crore and, while TV continued to grow as the biggest medium for adspend in sports, ESP Properties said that brands also demonstrated having a clear digital plan, along with a presence on TV, to engage with consumers by reaching out to them in more ways than one.

Meanwhile, the sports endorsement grew by 11% to reach Rs 456 crore, with cricket once more dominant – of the 70 new brand endorsement deals secured in 2019, 50 involved cricket. A total of 329 endorsement deals took place out of which 228 brands signed up with cricketers, the report added.

But looking beyond cricket, the report also revealed that badminton star P. V. Sindhu was the leading non-cricketing athlete in 2019 in terms of brand endorsements.

While Sindhu added four brands to her portfolio, the most notable one among them was her tie-up with Visa that made her the first Indian athlete to endorse the financial services brand.

Commenting on the findings, 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 five years the industry has doubled its size.

“If we look further, we can see a strong CAGR of 12.8% in the business of sports over the last ten years, making it one of the strong pillars of the Indian economy,” he added.”

Sourced from ESP Properties, Campaign Asia; additional content by WARC staff