Sports Sponsorship and Its Impact on Indian Brands

Sports Sponsorship

Hey there, sports fan! You know, when we’re cheering on our favorite teams, it’s hard not to notice the array of logos and brands plastered around the stadium, on the jerseys, and even during those nail-biting instant replays. Yes, I’m talking about sports sponsorships, a fascinating game off the field that’s as competitive and strategic as a T20 match.

From the adrenaline-fueled IPL to the gritty Kabaddi mats, these brands aren’t just bystanders, they’re an integral part of the action, shaping the way we experience the thrills and spills of the game. So, let’s pull up a chair to discuss “Sports Sponsorship & Indian Brands,” we’re not just talking about logos on jerseys here, we are exploring a dynamic partnership that’s boosting sports, influencing fan experiences, and even playing a role in shaping future athletes. Let’s lace up our sneakers and take a run through this exciting landscape, shall we?

Boosting Home Turf: Indian Brands in Local Sports Sponsorship

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So when we talk about “Boosting Home Turf,” we’re essentially discussing how Indian brands are increasingly supporting local sports through sponsorships. Think of it like this – sports are a massive part of Indian culture, right? Cricket, Kabaddi, Football—you name it, there’s a massive fan base for it. Now, Indian companies see this as a golden opportunity to connect with the public by sponsoring teams and events, especially in popular leagues like the IPL or the Pro Kabaddi League, they’re not just promoting their brands, they’re becoming a part of people’s passions.

This isn’t just about putting a logo on a jersey, it’s much deeper than that. It’s about community and identity. When a local brand sponsors a team, it sends out a message that they’re investing in what matters to people the most. It’s a way to boost national pride and local economies plus, as these events are televised and streamed, the brands gain massive exposure. 

It’s a win-win situation here, the sports get the funding they need to grow, and the brands get to be seen supporting the home team—literally boosting the ‘home turf’.

Imagine sports as this big, vibrant parade going down the main street of a city. Now, Indian brands are like the folks who want their banners to be seen by everyone there. They’re not just bystanders anymore, they’ve started to lead some of the floats!

For instance, take cricket, which in India is not just a sport but a season that never ends. The Indian Premier League, or IPL as it’s fondly called, is like the grand festival in this season. It’s a magnet for audiences, and therefore, Indian brands don’t miss a chance to splash their names across team jerseys, stadiums, and TV ads during the matches.

Over the past few years, the value of the sports sponsorship market in India has really puffed up, going from about $1.3 billion to a whopping $2.7 billion and it’s not just cricket, it is also kabaddi, football, badminton, and a host of other sports are also getting some love from local companies.

Revitalizing Indian Sports: The Impact of Corporate Sponsorship and Grassroots Initiatives 

The reinvigoration of Indian sports through sponsorship and grassroots initiatives by major Indian conglomerates is a testament to the evolving landscape of sports in the country. 

Vedanta’s Sports Training Initiatives :

  • Vedanta Resources has made significant strides in promoting sports in India, particularly in Odisha, which has a rich history of producing outstanding athletes. Vedanta’s sports training initiatives aim to instill values such as healthy competition, sportsmanship, teamwork, and discipline in young talents. Their efforts are creating a foundation for budding athletes and affirming sports as a critical aspect of youth development and empowerment.
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The Reliance Foundation’s Sports Initiatives:

The Reliance Foundation has been actively involved in developing sports in India, focusing on nurturing young talent and promoting a culture of excellence in various sports disciplines. Through its multiple initiatives, the Foundation has made significant strides in identifying and supporting promising athletes, contributing to the nation’s sporting future.

  • The Foundation views sports as a vital tool for personal development, fostering lifelong learning and leadership skills.
  • Over 2.15 crore young individuals have been impacted through the Foundation’s sports initiatives, providing a significant platform for nurturing future champions.
  • Launched in 2016, RFYS focuses on strengthening India’s sports future through institutional competitions, scholarships, and infrastructure grants.
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Tata Trusts: Socio-Economic Progress Through Sports Development in India

Tata Trusts, a prestigious Indian organization, has long been a key player in leveraging sports as a tool for socio-economic advancement, particularly in underserved areas. Their comprehensive strategy encompasses grassroots initiatives, strategic partnerships, and a focus on sustainable development in sports, reflecting their commitment to nurturing local talent and offering new avenues for growth beyond traditional occupations.

  • Tata Trusts has a rich legacy of supporting sports, which is part of their broader mission to drive socio-economic progress in underserved regions of India.
  • Their initiatives are widespread, impacting multiple Indian states by identifying and nurturing local sporting talent and opening new opportunities.
  • They collaborate extensively with state governments and local entities, ensuring a cohesive and effective implementation of their sports programs.
  • Their unique approach includes a sports strategy pyramid, which begins at the primary school level by instilling fundamental sports skills. This pyramid extends to regional and international competitive events, showcasing a well-structured pathway for athlete development.
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A Closer Look: Analyzing the Impact

The landscape of Indian sports has experienced a transformative leap forward in recent years. The 2023 India Sports Sponsorship Report by GroupM reveals a vibrant sector where economic vigor and branding excellence are evident. This discussion takes a closer look at the statistical data to understand the economic and branding impact of sponsorships in the Indian sports industry.

In an unprecedented surge, sports sponsorship in India has witnessed a 105% growth, reaching an impressive INR 5907 Cr ($748 million). This remarkable upswing is attributed to a synergy of factors: meticulously planned event schedules, expansion of sports properties, and a flourishing industry ecosystem receptive to market demands. In the limelight of this growth are the sports celebrities whose endorsements saw a 20% increase to INR 749 Cr ($95 million), underscoring their influence on the Indian populace.

Cricket’s supremacy in Indian sports is unchallenged, commanding an 85% share of the total industry revenue at INR 12115 Cr ($1534 million). More than just a game, cricket has evolved into a commercial powerhouse, with sponsorship, endorsements, and ad expenditures recording a stellar 44% growth. This is a testament to the sport’s deep-rooted cultural significance and its unparalleled appeal to audiences and investors alike.

Brands in India are tapping into the sports frenzy to forge connections with one of the youngest populations in the world. Corporate branding strategies are increasingly woven around sports, leveraging the passion and engagement that they inspire. Television remains the juggernaut in sports consumption, but digital media is rapidly gaining ground, promising an interactive and immersive experience. The persistent preference for live sports viewing, known as “appointment viewing,” continues to be a lucrative segment for advertisers, ensuring sports remain a prized entity for brand visibility.

With the Men’s ODI World Cup on the horizon in 2023, fan engagement is anticipated to reach new heights. The excitement is not just about the sport but also the opportunity it presents for brands to engage with a wider audience. 

Similarly, the FIFA World Cup’s presence in Asia has allowed Indian brands to gain a foothold in the global sports branding arena, illustrating the far-reaching impact of such international events on national branding strategies.

The Indian sports sponsorship report delineates a sector that is not only thriving economically but is also creating a robust platform for branding excellence. As Indian sports continue to ascend on the global stage, the economic and branding impact of sponsorships is expected to grow in tandem, bolstered by technological advancements in content management and fan engagement.

For brands looking to make a mark in the Indian market, the message is clear-  the sports sponsorship arena is ripe with opportunities. It’s time for investors to look beyond cricket and explore emerging sports, and for brands to innovate with digital media strategies. As India cements its place as a ‘Sporting Nation,’ the potential for growth in this sector is bound only by the imagination.

Going Global: Indian Brands in International Sports Sponsorship

The landscape of sports sponsorship has evolved remarkably over the past decade, with Indian brands aggressively expanding their horizons beyond local events to the global stage. This evolution marks a significant shift in the strategic approach of Indian companies, illustrating their readiness to associate with international sports and events. The trend underscores not only the growth of the Indian economy but also the ambition of its corporate sector to build global brand recognition.

The global sports sponsorship arena has witnessed an increased presence of Indian brands. These entities are not just focusing on cricket – a religion in India – but are also making inroads into other sports by sponsoring prominent international events and teams. For instance, Indian brands have made a noticeable entry into events governed by the International Cricket Council (ICC), FIFA, and even the Olympics.

Cricket remains the juggernaut of Indian sports sponsorship, with a substantial part of the sponsorship budget being allocated to the sport. However, a closer examination reveals a nuanced strategy in play. While local sponsorships are often aimed at mass visibility and customer loyalty within the country, global sponsorships serve a dual purpose as they cater to the Indian diaspora and carve out a space for brand recognition in the global market.

The strategies employed in the global arena are more varied and often include partnerships with international athletes, sponsorship of specific sports teams, and engagement with global sports events. These global forays are not merely transactions but are part of a broader narrative that Indian brands are crafting to position themselves as global entities.

Tata Motors and Wrestling

Tata Motors’ sponsorship of wrestling, including its support for the Wrestling Federation of India, showcases the brand’s commitment to nurturing sports talent in a discipline that has brought India significant accolades on the world stage. This partnership aligns Tata Motors with attributes of strength and endurance, synonymous with both the sport and the rugged nature of Tata’s vehicle lineup.

Amul and the Indian Olympic Association

Amul’s partnership with the Indian Olympic Association for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics positioned the brand on a global platform, enhancing its visibility. This move not only showcased Amul’s support for Indian athletes but also placed the brand in the global spotlight, reflecting its international aspirations.

Hero MotoCorp and Golf

Hero MotoCorp, the Indian motorcycle giant, has sponsored various golf tournaments, including the prestigious PGA Tour and the European Tour. This strategic move has positioned Hero MotoCorp within an elite sport, often associated with a premium lifestyle, aligning the brand with high standards of excellence and precision.

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Infosys and Tennis

Infosys, a global leader in consulting, technology, and outsourcing solutions, has partnered with the ATP World Tour to provide advanced statistical analytics, enhancing the experience for tennis fans worldwide. This partnership not only demonstrates Infosys’ capabilities in data analytics but also aligns the brand with a sport that enjoys global popularity.

Mahindra Racing and Formula E

Mahindra Racing’s participation in the FIA Formula E Championship is a testament to the brand’s commitment to innovation, sustainability, and the future of mobility. Competing in this international series, Mahindra not only promotes its automotive technology but also champions environmental consciousness, a crucial aspect of its brand ethos.

Kingfisher and Formula One

Kingfisher has been associated with Formula One, initially through the Force India and later Racing Point teams. This high-profile exposure in one of the most glamorous and technologically advanced sports in the world has elevated the brand’s prestige and global recognition.

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The strategic incursion of Indian brands into international sports sponsorship heralds a new era of brand positioning and marketing. By going global, these brands are not only supporting sports and athletes but are also amplifying their brand stories across borders. The future promises even greater integration of Indian brands into the fabric of international sports, positioning India not just as a sporting nation but also as a seedbed for brands with global aspirations.

As Indian brands continue to strive for recognition on the world stage, their involvement in international sports sponsorship will likely grow, leading to more dynamic marketing strategies and a stronger presence in global sports events.

A Global Reception: Evaluating the Outcomes

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The Indian sports sponsorship landscape offers a dynamic platform for global brands to enhance recognition and forge deep connections with consumers. On-ground activations and strategic partnerships are integral for brands like Coca-Cola and Mondelez International, which utilize sports to create immersive and emotionally resonant experiences. These approaches extend brands’ global reach and fortify their recognition in India’s burgeoning market.

Economic Implications and Benefits Gained from International Sponsorship

The economic implications of sports sponsorships in India are profound, with cricket leading the sponsorship spends and accounting for a significant portion of the revenue. The post-pandemic period has seen a resurgent growth in emerging sports, with substantial year-over-year increases. The combined sponsorship revenues across all sports underscore the sector’s economic vitality and the lucrative returns on investment for sponsoring brands. The industry’s trajectory is set to ascend further with upcoming sponsorship and media rights renewals in cricket and the IPL.

Consumer Engagement and Market Trends

Fan engagement is a critical measure of a sport’s impact and its sponsorship value. Anticipation for high-profile events like the men’s ODI World Cup is set to shocked audience engagement to unprecedented levels, showcasing the potential for international brands to tap into this passion. The data suggests a market that is increasingly confident in sports properties, offering numerous avenues for brands and businesses to capitalize on sports sponsorship for robust consumer engagement and sustained economic growth.

Challenges and Triumphs

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The sports sponsorship arena has witnessed a series of ebbs and flows, particularly impacted by the global Covid-19 pandemic. The onset of the pandemic in 2020 brought about unforeseen challenges, causing major disruptions in the sports industry worldwide and leading to significant drops in sponsorship spends. India was no exception, experiencing a contraction in sponsorship revenue as events were canceled or postponed, and consumer engagement took a hit.

Despite a gradual recovery in 2021, the industry struggled to reach the high-water mark set in the pre-pandemic era of 2019, with figures still trailing by 14%. The pandemic underscored the vulnerability of the industry to global crises and the need for adaptability and resilience in the face of such challenges.

Success Stories and Key Takeaways from Overcoming Obstacles

Triumph emerged from the tribulations of the pandemic, with 2022 marking a stellar year of comeback for Indian sports sponsorship. The industry not only recovered but soared to new heights, with sponsorship revenues increasing by 105% from the previous year and registering a total that was 1.75 times that of the pre-pandemic figures. This remarkable turnaround was underpinned by a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of about 21%, showcasing the sector’s robust growth despite the hardships faced.

The resurgence was fueled by a series of inspirational performances by Indian athletes on the world stage. India’s first-ever Olympic gold medal in track and field, historic victories in the Thomas Cup, and unprecedented successes in the Commonwealth Games marked a new era of Indian sports. The emergence of platforms like the Women’s Premier League (WPL) further highlighted the country’s expanding sports culture and the potential for commercial engagement.

A key takeaway from these successes has been the pivotal role of technological advancements in media and broadcasting. These innovations have not only enhanced the fan experience but have also opened up novel avenues for brand engagement. The integration of digital strategies has become a cornerstone in the playbook of sports sponsorship, allowing for targeted and immersive consumer outreach.

The Road Ahead: Future of Indian Brands in Sports Sponsorship

The landscape of sports sponsorship in India has undergone a significant transformation over the past decade. With an ever-increasing sports viewership and the rise of digital media, the avenues for Indian brands to engage with sports sponsorship are expanding. Here’s a look into the future of this dynamic domain, focusing on the upcoming trends and potential new markets that Indian brands could venture into.

Cricket has long been the jewel in the crown of Indian sports sponsorship. However, the sponsorship portfolio is diversifying as other sports gain traction. Sports like football, kabaddi, and badminton have started to carve their niches, offering brands the opportunity to tap into new and engaged audiences. The Indian Super League (ISL) and Pro Kabaddi League (PKL) are testimonies to the success of league formats outside cricket.

The digital revolution has also made e-sports an attractive platform for sponsors. With the youth skewing towards competitive gaming, brands are finding value in sponsoring e-sports tournaments and teams. The interactivity and global reach of e-sports present unique branding opportunities that traditional sports may not offer.

Another significant trend is the rise of athlete endorsements beyond cricket stars. There is an increasing recognition of champions from various disciplines, including Olympic sports, which broadens the scope for endorsements. Moreover, women athletes are gaining prominence, heralding a more inclusive era for sports marketing in India.

Sustainability in sports is also becoming a priority, with brands aligning with environmentally conscious events and teams that promote a greener image. This is not only a CSR initiative but also resonates well with a growing segment of eco-aware consumers.

Potential New Markets and Sports for Indian Brands to Venture Into

Looking ahead, Indian brands have a plethora of options to explore beyond the well-trodden path. Adventure sports and off-beat events like marathons, triathlons, and mountain biking are gaining followers. These sports attract a demographic that values fitness and wellness, aligning well with brands in the health and lifestyle sectors.

Furthermore, grassroots sports programs offer fertile ground for sponsorships. Brands can establish deep community ties and nurture talent from the ground up. This not only helps in brand building but also contributes to the sports ecosystem’s development.


The meteoric rise in the valuation of media rights, exemplified by Star India’s acquisition of IPL media rights for INR 16,347.5 Crores, represents a staggering 367% increase over the previous agreement. Moreover, the ascension of Vivo, securing the title sponsorship rights with a 450% upswing, and the recent transition to Tata as the title sponsor, underscore the ripe opportunities that the Indian sports ecosystem offers.

Indian brands have not limited their sights to national borders; instead, they are progressively exploring global sponsorship landscapes. This outward expansion is fuelled by the recognition of the global reach that sports like cricket command. The IPL’s addition of two new franchises further exemplifies the immense potential for growth and the dynamism inherent in the Indian sports sponsorship domain.

Encouragement for Indian brands to pursue global sponsorship opportunities cannot be overstated. With sports transcending cultural and geographical barriers, Indian brands stand to gain significantly from the international exposure, cross-border brand loyalty, and the diverse audience that global sports sponsorships can offer. The success stories of Indian brands in the IPL provide a blueprint for how strategic partnerships in sports can yield exponential growth and visibility on a worldwide stage.

In conclusion, the surge of Indian brands in sports sponsorships is not just a fleeting trend but a robust indicator of the potential that lies in leveraging sports as a unifying and universal medium for brand growth. The ongoing encouragement for Indian brands to venture into the global arena is not only beneficial for the brands themselves but also for the sports, the fans, and the broader narrative of India’s burgeoning presence on the global stage.

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Sandeep Nair

I'm a wanderlust driven content wizard, weaving stories from the threads of my adventures. I channel my passion into every goal, mirroring the dedication I bring to each written word. In life's simplicity, whether it's a quiet moment or a shared laugh, I discover profound joy and tranquility. With a controller in one hand and a pen in the other, I merge the virtual and real worlds in a symphony of words.

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