India’s sports industry clocked a growth of 11 per cent recording a total revenue of ₹15,766 crore in 2023 over 2022, as per a report released by GroupM ESP. The revenues include sponsorships spends, media spends and endorsement fees. Nearly 87 per cent of the sports industry’s revenues came from cricket amounting to ₹13,701 crore in 2023, up 13 per cent.

Also read: Why women’s participation in sports is still lagging

Sponsorship spends surged to ₹7,345 crore in 2023 up 24 per cent over 2022 primarily driven by a significant increase in franchise fees indicating the robustness of India’s franchising ecosystem led by IPL and WPL, the report titled, ‘Sporting Nation - Building a Legacy’ noted.

But, overall media spends on sports were almost flat and stood at ₹7,494 crore in 2023 (down 1 per cent over 2022). This was due to factors such as tough business environment and inflationary pressures leading to muted spending by advertisers across sports as well as non-sports genres.

Talking about ad spend trends in 2023, Vinit Karnik, Head-Sports, e-sports and entertainment, Group M said, “Digital ad revenues grew 40 per cent as all IPL matches and many Cricket World Cup matches were available for free on OTT platforms, as against the previous season, where they were behind a paywall.” He added that IPL rights being split in digital and TV between two media houses led to a ‘plateaued growth for the 2023 season’ amid a soft advertising environment. But, he added that the Cricket World Cup advertising provided a boost to ad spends last year.

In terms of IPL ad spends alone, while TV ad spends declined 17 per cent, digital ad spends grew by over 25 per cent in 2023. The report also noted that OTT platforms are playing a key role in transforming the sports consumption patterns.

Meanwhile, sports celebrities earned a total of ₹927 crore in endorsement fees in 2023 up 24 per cent, the report added.

Also read: Sport, me-time and a mindful diet 

“Indian sports industry, soaring from about ₹2,400 crore in 2008 to over ₹15,000 crore in 16 years, reflects the elevated status of sports and the fast-evolving sporting culture in India. This highlights the sports industry’s expansion as well as commercialisation and its growing influence on the global stage. From being a sporting nation in the making, we are now marching towards building a legacy in this field,” Karnik noted. He added that while cricket dominates, India’s strong performance in various global-level sporting events, signals a ‘vibrant multi-sporting future’ for India.