Indian sports sponsorship is on a growth trajectory with the overall sports sponsorship growing by 14 per cent in 2017.

A report released by ESP Properties, the entertainment and sports arm of GroupM and SportzPower said that media investments contributed to the largest portion of the pie (55 per cent of overall spends), followed by ground sponsorship.

Sports advertising rose to ₹7,300 crore, a substantial leap from Rs 6,400 crores in the previous year crossing the USD billion dollar mark for the first time in the domestic market. As per report Indian advertising expenditure in 2017 was ₹61,263 crores, and this report estimates 12 per cent contribution to the overall ad spends are from sports sponsorship alone.

Sponsorship of non-cricketing sports grew in 2017. India’s second biggest sport by participation and attendance, football grew by a considerable 64 per cent.

India hosted its first ever FIFA U-17 World Cup that became the most attended in the history of the event. Attendance for this Football World Cup was a record 1,347,133, surpassing China’s 1985 audience of 1,230,976.

Since last year, ISL is a 10 team, 18+ week showcase, up from eight teams and 10 weeks in the last season. ISL Sponsorship has grown by 22 per cent from the previous year. 2017 also saw the birth of five new franchise based leagues—UTT, SBL, SFL, Cue Slam & P1 Power Boating.

Brands are bullish about investing in emerging sports; 25 per cent increase in franchise fees came from developments in other sports, as cricket remained unchanged. Thirty-six new franchises were added across all new and existing leagues.

While demonetization and GST hit overall ad expenditure in 2017, the sports sector has been able to ride the storm with a steady and positive trajectory.

All major sporting leagues managed to bring on board sponsors at a 100 per cent or more incremental value for the title sponsorship. Specifically, the IPL has emerged as one of the top five most valuable global sports properties in the world.

Vinit Karnik, Business Head, ESP Properties said, “2017 was truly the ‘big’ year for the business of sports. With Pro Kabaddi League emerging as the second-most popular league in India after the Indian Premier League, and the India edition of U-17 Football World Cup creating history in terms of audience attendance, has given sports sponsorship enjoyed a bull run. As popularity of sports grows in India, sports stars also expand their brand endorsement portfolios. Virat Kohli led brand endorsements with 19 brands and Rs 150+ crore in value, while PV Sindhu leads the non-cricket endorsement space with 11 brands and Rs 30+ crore in value.”

Thomas Abraham, Co-Founder, SportzPower said, “With the 2017 momentum and the economy also looking up and set to grow at 7.3 per cent in 2018-19, sports is looking at an even bigger year. As the industry anticipates clarity on the structure of club football in India, among the new leagues on the horizon,volleyball seems the most promising. In the media firmament, while new revenue benchmarks are expected from television, it will be traction in the Digital arena that provides real pointers to where the industry is going over the next few years.”