According to GroupM ESP Sporting Nation report, in sports media advertising, TV stood on a pedestal, with a contribution of 73%, including Cricket and all Emerging Sports, imputing an aggregate amount of Rs 5,506 crore ($Mn 697) in 2022, at a growth of 9% over 2021.
In 2021, TV contributed Rs 5,051 crore in sports media advertising.
Although the report further states that while TV stands tall, digital medium is catching up fast in sports as well as other facets of life.
in 2022, GroupM saw a YoY growth of 112% in digital sports media adex, by accumulating an ad revenue of Rs 2,045 crore ($Mn 259).
Digital sports contributed to 27% of all media spends in 2022; the corresponding number just one year back was just 16%, stated the report.
Digital contributed Rs 965 crore in sports media advertising in 2021.
GroupM expects digital medium to reduce the gap with TV in the long run; it still has a considerable distance to cover before that becomes a reality.
Stating the reason for the same, GroupM said, “With the market share of Smart TVs likely to rise fast, we can expect an increasing number of fans to watch live sports on a connected television set (CTV) in future. Consumers seek convenience, and the benefits of OTT should in due course of time, start working against the inertia of change as well. For instance, instead of getting attuned to the television schedules of our favourite entertainment programmes, we can now use the power of technology to watch the same shows whenever it suits us. However, in the case of live sports, appointment viewing works very well, for we need to watch it when it is being played, and this would make these properties even more valuable.”
It added, “While we have this consumer shift on one hand, digital medium offers certain advertiser benefits too, on the other. With greater control over user statistics, advertisers on sports programmes on OTT medium can target certain segments of consumers, like people watching from specific markets, or fans who are using a particular device type (like a TV instead of a mobile), using a host of criteria which can be relevant and has the potential to add to the sharpness of the profile of the audience that will be exposed to the communication.”
In total, sports media spends grew by 26% (YoY) reaching Rs 7,553 crore ($Mn 956) in 2022, according to GroupM ESP Sporting Nation report.
This accounts for 53% of the total sports industry revenue, with sponsorships and endorsements delivering the rest, stated the report.
This figure is dominated by live sports, as brands from different sectors in the industry jostled for the attention of large sections of viewers who wouldn’t want to miss any part of the action.
“Recent years have seen rapid adoption of OTT medium in Indian households, to such a point that we are at the cusp of a digital mainstreaming in sports broadcasting. While the confluence of cricket and TV is the sweet spot for marketing behemoths, we can also observe a greater propensity in advertisers to experiment with involvement in the online streaming of Emerging Sports where they can operate with lower ticket sizes,” stated the report.
GroupM report further mentioned, “If we look at cricket’s contribution across types of media, we can see that it accounts for 95% on TV, and 90% on Digital Medium! In view of the evolving consumer preferences, and the onrush of tech-driven shifts, we can expect OTT to drive a digital groundswell in sports media advertising sooner than later.”
The report pointed out that while the traditional advertisers like the blue-chip FMCG brands continued to make their presence felt, there was a clear juggernaut from new-age sectors like FinTech, EdTech and Gaming, which were to a huge extent instrumental in driving the values for the year 2022.
GroupM further stated that the reach of live cricket action on media is of such a scale that the gap between the advertising rates it commands, and of other sports, is huge, with one sport alone contributing to a towering 94% of all ad expenses incurred last year- this being a share that is higher than what we saw with sponsorships and endorsements. This works out to an advertising expenditure of Rs 7,072 crore ($Mn 895), at a YoY growth rate of 25%.
“What this implies is that in absolute numbers, cricket alone added an amount of Rs 1,415 crore ($Mn 179) over the previous year. Contributing in a big way here were the batters at both ends of the wicket, Team India and the Indian Premier League (IPL),” mentioned the report.
While the national men’s team had a much busier year compared to 2021, with the ICC World T20, the Asia Cup and a good number of bilateral events, the franchise-based T20 carnival saw the addition of two more teams into the equation, providing an added impetus to the media schedules with even more leveraging opportunities for brands.
With cricket amassing runs in a Bradmanesque manner in terms of media spends, the balance 6% of the total came from Emerging Sports- an amount of Rs 481 crore ($Mn 61) at an increment of 33% over 2021. A major contributor to this was Football, in the year of the FIFA World Cup, as brands in their endeavour to dribble past competition, saw the quadrennial spectacle in Qatar as just the right opportunity to reach out to their consumers.
While Television was, by a huge margin, the most impactful media vehicle when it came to taking brand stories to the people, we must be cognizant of the fact that the impact of technology on fan experience has been more pronounced than ever before in sports history, and the patterns that emerged in 2022 further reinforced these long-term trends.