GroupM’s ESP Properties released the Business of Indian Sports Playbook, in the context of COVID-19. This playbook is a guide for stakeholders like talent, broadcasters, right holders, fans, sponsors and the government, who play a vital part in the sporting ecosystem.
Sports sponsorship industry in India has been growing at a CAGR of 12.8% over the last 10 years, with the overall Sports Sponsorship market in India crossing the mark of Rs 9,000 crore for the first time, highlighted the GroupM ESP report on the business of Indian Sports in the wake of the COVID-19 crisis.
The report further states that, once the dust around COVID-19 settles down, sports will play a pivotal role in helping fans deal with the emotional stress, post-pandemic trauma and give people at large reasons to look forward to.
Mobile gaming will be the biggest gainers in the post COVID-19 era, with 20% increase in the monthly active users during the lockdown in India, with daily average session going up from 30 min. to 45 min. and frequency of these sessions increasing to 5-7 per day as against 3 sessions per day during pre-COVID-19.
This situation is also an opportunity for sports in India. India is a sporting nation in the making with the sector showing strong growth in the last 6-7 years. At a world level, everything is a standstill. We need to focus on our athletes and performance of sports and have a strong vision for 2024 and 2028 Olympics. The post-COVID-19 time is expected to define “new normalcy” which in turn will have a telling effect on all aspects of the business including sports.
Keeping the fans engaged is an important KPI for a rightsholder & broadcaster. The lockdown times could be a perfect opportunity for both to make heroes off their fans.
Broadcasters should toy around with various non-live sportainment formats as the fan acceptability quotient is high right now. Innovative content formats need to be thought of between the talent and broadcaster to make the most out of a fan’s interest in some sporting action.
Government partnerships in the sports realm are the need of the hour. Government & sponsors have worked together beautifully as Public-Private-Partnerships. Post COVID-19 time will call for many such initiatives
Talent needs to make full use of the lockdown to enhance relationships with fans via social media. Live talent interaction on social media has caught the eyes of a large fanbase since the fans need to see some action happening between the talent instead of no-action. Gaming & virtual sports should definitely be in the consideration set for active fan engagement during current times taking a cue from how cricket world cup winner Ben Stokes engaged with his fans through F1 esports Vietnam Grand Prix.