Live sports will lead the way in 2021 and keep sentiments upbeat: Vinit Karnik

Shrugging off the disruptions of the year gone by, businesses and agencies are looking for a strong revival in 2021. Over the next few weeks, Adgully – as part of our annual TRENDING NOW endeavour – will be presenting the strategies and views of a cross-section of industry leaders as they go about reclaiming lost time and market opportunities and build for a stronger future, armed with the lessons of 2020.

In conversation with Adgully, Vinit Karnik, Business Head, ESP Properties, speaks about the growth of live events, virtual events and cricket in India for the year 2021. 

What are the growth projections for live events in the year 2021?

Overall, the outlook towards 2021 in terms of live events looks quite optimistic. After a very tough 2020, we are starting off with the India-England series. Cricket fans are being allowed to occupy 50% capacity from the 2nd Test in Chennai. This, to me, is a great positive start. Post this series, momentum will continue with IPL that is scheduled to start in April, also ICC World Cup is scheduled in India from October 2021, hence live sports will lead the way and keep sentiments upbeat.

Having said that, other live and entertainment events are expected to garner momentum only post July/August 2021. While weddings and some other events have already started, we still have lot of COVID-19 related protocols that one needs to follow and hence, it will take at least 6 months to get back to normalcy. 

After India’s stellar performance in the Australia series, which Indian cricketers are poised to join Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni on the top of the brand endorsements ladder?

We in India are blessed with a very young, dynamic, and talented bench strength in Cricket. Likes of Shubman Gill, Shreyas Iyer, Rishabh Pant, KL Rahul have very promising careers in brand endorsements ahead of them. Having said that, we have our senior players like Rohit Sharma and Hardik Pandya, who are already quite popular on the brand endorsement circuit. However, it will be interesting to see how brands respond to Ajinkya Rahane and Cheteshwar Pujara, considering some consistent and top-class cricket that they have played in the recent past. 

What was the growth of virtual events in 2020 and will it continue to see strong growth in 2021?

While virtual events are here to stay because of sheer convenience, its scalability is limited as the experience part of the live event gets compromised. Therefore, as we start getting vaccinated and life comes back to normalcy over time, we will see live events coming back in a big way as the experience that a live event offers is unmatched and incomparable.


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