Cricket accounts for approx 87% of the sporting landscape in India: Vinit Karnik

The Indian Premier League (IPL) has been a cornerstone of sporting entertainment in India, with its momentum steadily building over the years. Despite the challenges posed by 2023, the IPL witnessed growth across various categories, signaling a positive trend for the industry.

Vinit Karnik, Head of Sports, Esports & Entertainment at GroupM, delved into the dynamics of this growth and provided valuable insights into the evolving landscape of sports and entertainment in the country.

Karnik highlighted the multiple facets through which sports contribute to the economy, emphasising on-ground sponsorship with the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), team sponsorships, and television and digital rights. He noted a consistent growth in each of these areas, exemplified by Tata’s nearly 15% increase in title sponsorship, which reached a staggering Rs 500 crore, affirming advertisers’ continued faith in the IPL’s value proposition.

Comparing cricket with other sports, Karnik acknowledged cricket’s dominance, citing statistics indicating that cricket accounts for approximately 87% of the sporting landscape in India. While acknowledging the growth of sports like football and Kabaddi pre-COVID, he noted the setback caused by the pandemic, expressing optimism that 2024-25 would mark a resurgence for these sports, eventually restoring them to pre-pandemic levels.

Regarding the entertainment sector, Karnik underscored the pivotal role of Tier 2 and Tier 3 markets in driving growth, particularly in the realm of Over-the-Top (OTT) platforms and digital media. He predicted a convergence of television and OTT platforms, with connected TVs serving as a primary driver of this transition. Karnik highlighted the pervasive adoption of smart TVs in India, indicating a shift towards digital content consumption even in non-metro areas.


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