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Sports Broadcasting in India 2023: Everything you need to know about cricket, leagues and advertising

The development of sports in India is projected to make the country a major player in the world of sports, benefiting all aspects of the industry and maintaining the popularity of sports viewing on television.

Kartik Mehindru Written By: Kartik Mehindru @mehindrukartik New Delhi Updated on: January 30, 2023 14:37 IST
Sports Broadcasting In India
Image Source : GETTY Sports Broadcasting In India

In India, cricket remains king with over 16,000 hours of live coverage shown in 2022, but other sports are also gaining ground. With the success of the Indian Premier League, franchise-based leagues have become more widespread, offering a greater variety of sports content. India's improved performance in international events has generated increased interest in sports overall, leading to growth in viewership. 

Both cricket and non-cricket leagues aim to blend sport and entertainment to captivate audiences. The Pro Kabaddi League, with 328 million viewers in 2019 and a 26% increase in viewership, is India's top non-cricket league. Star Sports acquired its media rights for INR 180 crore annually until 2025, leveraging the compact playing environment for sponsors' visibility. 

The Indian Super League is also growing in popularity, with 167 million viewers in 2019 and a 46% boost in title sponsorship from 2020 to 2023. ISL uses creative promotions, such as delivering the match ball via drones, to attract fans.

Future of Sports Broadcasting In India

  1. Television remains the main media platform in India despite the rise of OTT platforms, with a viewer base of 900 million people.
  2. The expected number of TV households in India will increase to 250 million by 2026, up from 210 million in 2020.
  3. Among TV content, sports had the highest reach, consumed by 722 million viewers in the first 9 months of 2022.
  4. The Indian Premier League is the most impactful sports property on Indian TV, with a reach of 400 million.
  5. Other sports such as kabaddi, wrestling, and football are gaining popularity.
  6. The success of Indian athletes on international platforms is driving the growth of India as a sporting nation.
  7. Advertisers are showing increasing interest in sports broadcasts due to their growing viewership and demographic reach.
  8. Sports broadcasting recorded revenues of approximately INR7,560 crore in FY22.
  9. The future growth of sports broadcasting in India is expected due to increasing TV penetration and interest in sports.

Benefits to Advertisers

  1. Wide-ranging sports consumption helps advertisers target their audience effectively.
  2. This distribution of consumption allows traditional brands like FMCG to reach both urban and rural users.
  3. New-age brands, such as consumer, fintech, and commerce, use sporting events like the IPL to reach their target audience across age groups.
  4. Advertisers use impact properties such as the IPL to build consumer connections and gain trust.
  5. Sports consumption in Hindi and regional languages is crucial for advertisers, leading to high audience engagement.
  6. Advertisers find this trend of native language consumption attractive and cost-effective, given the reach benefits of sports properties.
  7. Sports properties have high monetization potential due to their relevance to advertisers.
  8. While OTT platforms are growing, TV remains the dominant platform for sports consumption due to its widespread penetration and large-screen viewing experience. Advertisers have a huge opportunity to connect with their target audience through TV.

Cricket vs GEC

The sports genre was relatively unscathed by COVID-19, with a 9% year-over-year decrease in 2020 compared to a 28% drop in Hindi general entertainment channels and a 20-31% decline in regional general entertainment channels. 

The reach and time spent on sports properties is much higher than that of premium general entertainment channels. For instance, a T20 World Cup match between India and Pakistan reached 200 million viewers in just 4 hours, compared to 115 million reached by top general entertainment channels over 85-120 days. The IPL 2022 had a total reach of 400 million, double the combined watch time of shows like KBC, Bigg Boss, TKSS, KKK, and Shark Tank. Cricket remains dominant and is highly sought after by advertisers. 

Ratings for T20s and ODIs, including IPL and bilateral India cricket, have risen. Most sports viewership comes from NCCS AB households, which are attractive to advertisers due to their buying power, while sports also appeal to lower NCCS, making it a product suitable for mass-based brands. The size of India's sports broadcasting market is estimated to be 330 billion, with 165 billion coming from the IPL alone.

The Bottom Line

The consumption of sports on television has gone through a significant change in India since 1983 when the Asian Games were first telecast. The expansion of the TV industry, combined with creative marketing by sporting leagues and investment by broadcasters, has given Indian sports fans a multitude of options. Sports reaches an unparalleled audience that crosses socio-economic and age boundaries, making it an essential genre for advertisers to reach their target audience and create strong brand connections.

Despite the growth of digital consumption in India, TV remains the most popular mode of sports consumption for the majority of the population. The larger screen provides a superior viewing experience for sports events. The increased consumption of sports, especially among young fans, is expected to fuel interest in sports and produce future sportspeople. Advertisers are likely to invest more in sports-related advertising, outpacing the overall growth of ad spending on TV. The development of sports in India is projected to make the country a major player in the world of sports, benefiting all aspects of the industry and maintaining the popularity of sports viewing on television.

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Data Sources: The Data is sourced from a report published by KPMG titled 'Sports broadcasting on TV - A match made in heaven'.

The report has cited the following sources for the use of data - Broadcast Audience Research Council data, accessed on November 27, 2022, INTELENSA Market Research Insights 2022, Hindu Business Line article published on April 17, 2021, BARC data, accessed on October 27, 2022 66. FSDL announcement, Economic times, Business-Standard, accessed November 11, 2022, KPMG in India analysis, 2022 55. BARC data accessed on November 11, 2022,

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