A`16,347.50 crore bid. Dangal. Indian Premier League. Dhoni. Media rights. adidas. Star India. PV Sindhu. Amazon Prime Video. Kabaddi. Silver medal. Sultan. Inside Edge. Mithali Raj. Live streaming. Saina. BCCI. Virat. Endorsement. Da da ding...
That right there is a quick sports montage in words, spread across the inter-connected worlds of media, brands and popular culture. If one carefully goes over all the movies, advertisements, and television and digital properties that became popular over the past year or so, a common theme that will stand out like no other is sports.
There is no doubt about two things: One, in India, the spotlight, local and international – (just days back, Facebook bid a whopping Rs.3,900 crore for IPL’s digital rights!) – is on sports. And two, this is more than a passing phase; sports is the next big thing.
Which is why, this fortnight, we decided to speak to three professionals, Vinit Karnik, Indranil Das Blah and Jehil Thakkar, who represent very different spaces but are equally clued into the business of sports. We spoke to them about this boom. What makes sports such a lucrative business in India? What are the determinants of this phenomenon? What makes media experts confident that a broadcaster can not just recover `16,347.50 crore within five years, but also make profits by then... all on the back of sports?
The role that packaging, presenting and promoting sports content in an attractive way has played is lost on no one. Privatisation of sports is another big factor; the federation game, as our experts point out, is over.
More importantly, where do they see the arc headed in the future? How will advertisers ride this wave? While all three interviewees gave us different opinions, coloured by their respective professional lenses, they’re unanimous in their view that taking this boom to the next level and sustaining it in the long term, will require effort at the grassroot.