With most of the sports tournament either canceled or indefinitely postponed, YOY growth/estimation for the year 2020 pre-COVID-19 will not hold true, says GroupM ESP Properties’ Business of Indian Sports Playbook, in the context of COVID-19.
The sports sponsorship industry in India has been growing at a healthy CAGR of 12.8% over the last 10 years, with the overall Sports Sponsorship market in India crossing the mark of INR 9,000 Crore for the first time. 2020 was a year of Tokyo Olympics, T20 World Cup, Euro 2020 along with major tournaments like Vivo IPL.
With most of the sports tournament either canceled or indefinitely postponed, YOY growth/estimation for the year 2020 pre-COVID-19 will not hold true,
It further states, “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 gainer in the post-COVID-19 era. The report also states that there has been a 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.
The report says, “In a parallel world, esports has been trying to emulate traditional sports for some time now to reach a larger and more mainstream audience. It had already become a billion-dollar industry pre-COVID pandemic with tournaments witnessing arenas filled with screaming fans and sponsors increasingly injecting monies in the ecosystem globally. With the lockdown in place and millions forced to stay at home; esports has shifted to online format filling up the void for many of the LIVE sports’ hungry fans worldwide.
Further, the playbook recommends the following:
- 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. The above-given 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.