Despite an uneven distribution of endorsements, due to Indian athletes' performance at the Tokyo Olympics 2021 the endorsements of Emerging Sports Athletes’ witnessed an increase of about 79 percent. Whereas, in 2021, endorsement deals with cricketers saw an increase of just 5 percent.
Celebrity brand endorsement for 'emerging sports' athletes saw a decline from Rs 81 crore in 2019 to Rs 47 crore in 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic. However, after a successful campaign by Indian athletes at the Tokyo Olympics 2021, the endorsements of these 'emerging sports' athletes witnessed a sharp upturn.
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Accounting for about 13 percent of the overall brand endorsement value, they witnessed an increase of about 79 percent. Whereas, in 2021, endorsement deals with cricketers saw an increase of just 5 percent, albeit at a much higher base.
According to the data by GroupM ESP, the overall spending in the industry rose from Rs 4,617 crore in 2014 to Rs 9,109 crore in 2019. However, the global outbreak created a hindrance to this growth. Annual sporting events were cancelled or postponed due to the looming health crisis. The spending on the industry saw a decline of 35 percent.
In 2021, nevertheless, with a lineup of some of the most sought-after sports tournaments, the Olympics, Indian Premier League, ICC T20 World Cup among others, and with some Covid restrictions being lifted up, the industry witnessed a boom. The total spending of the year surpassed an all-time high of Rs 9530 crore.
A country consumed by cricket
According to the Sporting Nation report 2022, a total of 444 brand endorsement deals took place in 2021. Cricketers solely accounted for 318 of these deals which formed 87 percent of the total brand endorsement value.
In spite of increased brand endorsements for other athletes, the difference between cricket and other sports in India remains undisturbed and lopsided. The report states that total spending in the year 2019 on cricket was around 80 percent. When the pandemic struck, it went up to 87 percent in 202 and 88 percent in 2021.
The big names
The successful and popular celebrity sportspersons are no surprise. Virat Kohli, MS Dhoni, Rohit Sharma, Neeraj Chopra and PV Sindhu – formed the major chunk of sports celebrity endorsements.
Watch Mangalam Maloo's accompanying video for more on this