JSW Sports, the sports arm of JSW Group that forayed into sponsorship consulting in 2022, is looking to grow the non-cricket sports sponsorship business beyond its 10-percent market in India ahead of Paris Olympics 2024.
Currently, cricket accounts for 90 percent of the sports sponsorship market in India but non-cricket sports has lot of potential to grow, said Divyanshu Singh, Chief Operating Officer of JSW Sports.
"Demand for non-cricket sports will continue to grow. We started our journey from Olympic sports so we will unlock value in this segment. In every sport, franchise is not the way to unlock value. In some sports, it has to be at the grassroot level. Our focus is how to grow that 10 percent of non-cricket sports market," he added.
Singh added that in their first year of starting the sponsorship vertical, the company did business across football, kabaddi, Olympic sports, along with cricket. "We got many first-time investors to sports. We are focusing on how we can get new brands to invest in sports like Qatar Airways for Indian Premier League (IPL) or Sportsbuzz for Women's Premier League (WPL)."
The company clocked gross sponsorships of Rs 250 crore in first year of launch of the new vertical with over 150 deals. One of its biggest deal is a three-year partnership of Qatar Airways as principal partner of Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) worth Rs 75 crore.
"With this partnership, Qatar Airways has made its entry in India's sports sponsorship market. Global brands coming in is important as they look at sport from a long term perspective. Lot of Indian sponsorships in India is a one-year deal as lot of buyers look at it as a media buy. But global benchmarks in sports like tennis star Rafael Nadal's association with Kia Motors and Rolex's association with Wimbledon. These are associations have been running into decades. It is great advocacy for Indian sports as we start attracting international brands," Singh said.
The company aims to grow the market size for sports sponsorships in India which is at the Rs 9,500-crore mark, but is still less than 10 percent of the ad-expenditure market in India. Singh said that the market has potential to grow especially women-led sports.
"WPL has accelerated spending in women's sports and with the advent of this league we are seeing greater advocacy of brands coming and supporting women athletes."
The firm facilitated a long term grassroots development partnership focused on women athletes between the Athletics Federation of India and HSBC.
In addition, the company is looking to increase focus on content creation around sports. "We are strategising on content vertical and want to release strong OTT (over the top platform) content," Singh said.