NEW DELHI: Flushed with funds, an increasing number of new-age companies across verticals are investing aggressively in sports sponsorship and advertising promotions, taking their contribution to the Indian advertising expenditure to over 10% in the last two years from 7%. The domestic advertising industry is expected to touch Rs80,000 crore in 2021.
“The percentage growth is high for these new age companies owing to low base. However, their contribution to the overall ad ex has been steadily increasing each year,” said Sujata Dwibedy, group trading director, Amplifi, Dentsu.
Digital stock brokerage firm Upstox recently beat Groww to become the official partner to Indian Premier League (IPL). It joins other startups such as fantasy sports platform Dream11, e-payment company Cred, and edtech firm Unacademy which are also sponsoring the T20 tournament in the same category, spending anywhere around ₹50 crore per year. Clearly, cricket continues to be the first choice of startups.
According to Dwibedy, the spike in awareness that a brand gets through IPL cannot be compared to any other existing media property in the country, making it as an optimum investment option for new companies.
“We have seen that in case of Cred and other new brands in the previous IPL season. Many new companies and brands have leveraged IPL as a stepping stone for a successful launch in the market. It makes sense for these startups to opt for IPL for 60 matches window, instead to be on any other media property where the build-up is pretty slow,” she added.
“One in out of three ad dollars is going in cricket where most of these new age companies advertise. New categories like online gaming and edtech have driven the ad ex in 2020 and is expected to do well this year,” said Sandeep Goyal, chairman, Mogae Media, a Mumbai-based marketing and communication agency.
Edtech firm Byjyu’s spent ₹400-500 crore in advertising last year while gaming firms Dream11 spent between ₹350 and ₹400 crore. My 11circle spent ₹150-250 crore, as per Pitch Madison Advertising report published in February. Digital and television dominated these spends.
According to Star India, edtech and fantasy gaming emerged as the most advertised category during IPL 2020, followed by fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) and auto and ancillary (tyres, lubricants etc).
“There is enough data to prove the benefits of associating with sports, with exposure being the prime highlight. This provides emerging brands, new-players and start-ups that are looking to maximize reach, brand awareness and overall brand recall an opportunity to go the extra mile and grab major attention,” said Star India.
Other sports such as Indian Super League (ISL), too, has been on radar for companies attracting sponsors such as Dream11 and Policybazaar. Pro Kabbadi League has sponsors such as online pharmacy platform Netmeds.com and Dream11.
Unacademy, for instance, said apart from IPL, the company is working on things including Olympics and other branded content-led partnerships across different forms of sports.
“India loves sports and youth follows it closely which is why new age companies advertise on sports. For us, it becomes important because sports and education go hand in hand making it a perfect fit. ,” said Karan Shroff, chief marketing officer, Unacademy.