Sports audience in India is on the rise. With the data for seven more weeks yet to come, television audience for sports in India this year has already registered a surge of 7% over the 2017 gross impressions.
As per the BARC India data for All India/2+ market, the total sports viewership on television has reportedly jumped to 46 billion impressions in 2018 till week 46. A big gain over the 43 billion gross impressions recorded for sports content in 2017. The lead shall grow further as audience data for six more weeks is still to come.
The Broadcast Audience Research Council further reveals that the football viewership during the period has registered an upswing. There is a healthy 50% growth from 2 billon to 3 billion even as six week’s data for the year was yet to be incorporated in the 2018 numbers.
Cricket, wrestling, and football have seen a growth in viewership while kabaddi’s upward swing for the first two season’s has witnessed a fall.
Cricket’s viewership share in the sports genre has gone up from 65% in 2016 to 71% in 2017 and 72% in 2018. Wrestling’s viewership has gone up at 12% compared to 11% in 2017. However, the viewership has dropped when compared to 16% share it garnered in 2016.
Football’s viewership share, boosted by FIFA World Cup finals in Russia, has gone from 3% in 2017 to 7% in the current year. In 2016, the viewership share stood at 5%.
According to the presentation by BARC India head partnerships Elbert Dsilva at the India Football Forum 2018, sports content was watched by 791 million viewers in 2018. Cricket was watched by 741 million viewers while Football drew 498 million viewers.
The year 2018 saw 48,000 hours of football content being telecast across 136 channels in 14 languages. The football content was viewed by 60% of the TV universe. Of the 136 channels, 67 were pay channels.
The availability of football content on more channels and the regional commentary are the key growth drivers of viewership.
Being skewed towards NCCS A, football is an important vehicle for advertisers to reach out to this segment. The sport gets 33% of viewership from NCCS A as opposed to 26% for cricket. The EPL gets as much as 56% viewership contribution from NCCS A.
In terms of growth of football leagues, Serie A viewership has doubled in the first two months. EPL is the most youth-skewed with 51% of viewers under 30 years of age. The figure was 43% for the football World Cup.
However, in terms of sports sponsorship India has a long way to go compared to the US. In the US, sports sponsorship spend was $16.2 billion last year as against a mere $1.1 billion in India.