The total sports viewership on television has jumped to 46 billion impressions in 2018 till week 46, as per BARC India data for All India/2+ market. This is a huge jump compared to the 43 billion impressions garnered by the genre in 2017.
The football viewership during the same period is also on a growth trajectory with the sport notching 3 billion impressions compared to 2 billion in the previous year.
Cricket, wrestling, and soccer have seen a growth in viewership while Kabaddi has for the time seen a decline in 2018 in the last three years.
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 has gone from 3% in 2017 to 7% in the current year. In 2016, the viewership share stood at 5%. Kabaddi’s viewership share has more than halved to 5% compared to 12% a year ago. The share of other sports remained constant at 4%.
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 soccer leagues, D’Silva noted that Serie A viewership doubled in the first two months this season. 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, D’Silva also noted that in terms of sports sponsorship India a long way to go compared to the US. In the US, sports sponsorship spend was $16.2 billion last year however it is just $1.1 billion in India.