While cricket continues to dominate the sports viewership in India, where the IPL season has the most significant impact, other non-cricket franchise-based events like kabaddi, football, kho-kho and others are also seeing traction.
In the first nine months of 2022, sports viewership in India reached 722 million, and is expected to surpass 776 million viewership in the pre-COVID year of 2019, according to the report.
The joint report by industry body CII, KPMG and the India Broadcasting Digital Foundation said digital revenue for sports is growing at a double-digit compound annual growth rate of 22 per cent.
“The same is likely to be driven by organic growth in OTT viewership in India, as well as increased consumption of OTT sports, driven by the convenience of watching anywhere,” the report said.
Advertising revenues for sports properties on digital platforms are likely to be driven by “strong advertiser interest” with higher digital fill rates and fill rates compared to other types of content.
She added, “Sports subscription revenue is expected to grow on the back of increased OTT subscriptions, visual and concerted efforts by OTT platforms to move toward a future of SVOD (subscription video on demand).”
However, despite the rapid growth of digital consumption in the past few years, the television sports market is still expected to be more than double the total digital sports market in the “medium to long term,” according to the report.
She added that television, the traditional platform for sports consumption and monetization, “is likely to remain relevant for the foreseeable future”.
The overall TV sports market was estimated to be around ₹7,050 crore in FY21.
“The same is expected to reach Rs. 9,830 crore in FY26; a constant CAGR of 7 per cent,” the report added.
According to the report, television advertising revenues for sports growth are expected to be on top of the overall growth of the television market, given the enjoyment advantage of sports as a genre over others.
“Sports subscription revenue is likely to be driven by increased TV House Hold penetration, increased package sales (including sports channels), and organic growth in Pay TV ARPUs,” it added.
According to estimates by the Broadcasting Audience Research Council (BARC), television reached 210 million households in 2020, which translates to 900 million individuals watching television.
However, the number of sports viewership on television in India remains weak, with plenty of room for growth. It only contributes 3 percent of total viewership on television compared to developed countries such as the United States where the figure is closer to 10 percent.
“We expect that with the continued encouraging performance of Indian cricketers and other sportsmen on the world stage, this gap will steadily decrease over the coming years,” the report said.
Cricket continues to dominate sports viewership and reach in India, with the IPL season being the biggest impact sports property on television.
The total volume of live cricket content broadcasted in India is 16,217 hours till week 44 of 2022. This has already exceeded 15,506 hours in 2021.
“No other sport comes close in terms of the amount of content as well as the reach,” she said.
However, some non-cricket leagues are seeing traction.
The report said that now “viewership of sports other than cricket is growing steadily and will reach 20 per cent in 2022” so far.
Some other franchise-based sports leagues – like kabaddi, football, kho-kho, etc. – have also spread in India.
The report indicated that this resulted in sports content being available to viewers almost throughout the year.