FIFA U-17 WC offers big gains for Indian sports industry

FIFA U-17 WC offers big gains for Indian sports industry- InsideSport

Football fraternity is expecting the FIFA Under-17 World Cup to create a stronger culture and fan base for the sport in India. Sports intellectual properties industry in the country too is eyeing valuable gains. An increased fan base will provide better commercial opportunities to the brands and other stakeholders.

Sports merchandising and brand licensing industry will stand to make significant gains in shorter and longer run, states and IANS report.

The brand licensing has already witnessed Nike for the first time launching the official Indian football team jersey at its stores across India. Branding and merchandising is one of a key revenue sources for sports entities the world over. Besides generating precious revenues to clubs, teams and licensees, these merchandising also account for creating and increasing a loyal fan base.

“The Under-17 World Cup will bring the right spectators and trigger sporting activities at the school level in a bigger way. Such an enabling ecosystem will surely translate into more licensing opportunties,” IANS has quoted License India Chairman Gaurav Marya as saying. The Indian Super League (ISL) will start after the (October 6-28) World Cup, ensuring five to six months of soccer action in the country.

“The longer duration of soccer action, similar to what happens in Europe and the US, will definitely consolidate the fan base, aiding the industry in more value creation,” Marya said.

While cricket has the biggest draw, “football is far ahead of the curve on the licensing front,” added Marya.

The report also quotes US-based International Licensing Industry Merchandisers’ Association (LIMA) data, which suggests that sports is among the largest licensing areas globally and generated $25.3 billion of retail sales, or 9.6 per cent of the overall $262.9 billion of global retail sales of licensed merchandise in 2016. In India, however, it plays a much smaller role.

“According to results of the LIMA Annual Global Licensing Survey, licensed sports products in India accounted for $18 million retail sales in 2016. The figure constitutes 1.3 per cent of the $1.4 billion sales of licenced goods in India in 2016,” LIMA’s Senior Vice President (Industry Relations and Information) Martin Brochstein is quoted as saying.

Assuming the continued growth of the licensing business overall, it is logical that sports licensing will also grow, probably faster than the overall market, Brochnstein added. “One of the drivers is a major event being held in the country, such as the Commonwealth Games or the U-17 World Cup. Events such as these generate sales of souvenirs within the host country. It’s important that it focuses attention on the sport and the event itself, helping to build a new generation of players and fans,” Brochstein said.

“European football leagues across PL, La Liga and the Bundesliga have fuelled this penchant towards sports merchandise among the youth in India. Real Madrid, FIFA World Cup, Manchester United and FC Barcelona have sizable licensing programmes in India and many European league clubs are waiting to enter the market,” he said.

Echoing Marya’s views, Chitra S. Johri, Director, Bradford License India, which works with over 80-odd brands, including Manchester City, said the foreign clubs, leagues and brands have well-charted licensing programmes.

“These foreign brands, which are very old, say 100 years, create aspirations among Indian consumers through their dynamic programmes. Big events like the World Cup will further boost the aspirations, which will aid not only the overseas brands but also help home-grown sports brands to monetise,” Johri is quoted as saying.