Global Cricket Sponsorship Spend Hits US$405 Million

Global cricket sponsorship is now worth US$405 million a year according to a new report from Sponsorship Today. The research, which analysed data from 788 deals from all of the major cricket playing nations, found that India accounted for US$165m of spend, international events US$68 million, England US$66 million and Australia US$57 million.

"The growth in cricket sponsorship has come about mainly because of the introduction of the Twenty20 format in general and the Indian Premier League (IPL) in particular," says report editor, Simon Rines.  "Although the BCCI, the governing body in India, has major deals for its national team, it is the IPL that has really driven the growth in sponsorship revenue in the country."

"As the IPL rights holder, the BCCI has sold title sponsorship to Pepsi for US$14 million a year as well as having major deals with Vodafone and Yes Bank. However, it is the value that the IPL team franchises offer sponsors that has driven the market. Those competing teams in India are estimated to generate more than US$70 million per series from sponsors and the amounts are growing."

The analysis showed that the financial service sector is the biggest backer of cricket, spending $66.5 million on rights, followed by telecommunications on $60 million and soft drinks on $36 million.

"One of the interesting findings is that the profile of industries sponsoring in developing countries is, in many respects, more healthy for the sport than in developed countries," says Rines. "In England, Australia and New Zealand, for example, a large proportion of spend comes from banks, brewers and car manufacturers. In the developing countries, the major spenders include telecommunications and media companies. It suggests that in England and Australia in particular, cricket would do well to get more sponsorship from companies in more exciting sectors that have the ability to communicate positive messages about the sport. Banks can do this to an extent, but having so many does create a slightly dull profile. Alcohol sponsors can't connect with fans fully due to restrictions on marketing to young audiences."

The report welcomes the new deal between the England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and Waitrose as a progressive development in terms of image, deal size ($15 million a year) and the potential for the supermarket group to communicate positive messages about cricket to fans. However, it was also found that there is a problem in English cricket with sponsorship 'clutter'.  "The counties have so many sponsors that it makes it difficult for many to stand out," says Rines."The churn rate for smaller sponsorships in particular is very high, which helps neither the sponsor nor the rights holder. A more professional strategy for managing commercial assets would certainly help the game to develop at grass roots level. "

Sponsorship fees are found to be generally holding up across the sport despite the bad publicity that cricket has endured, but the overall picture is patchy.  "If you look at most of the major cricketing nations, there has been at least one major scandal. Negative issues have included fraud, corruption, spot fixing, doping, poor administration or links to organised crime and in Pakistan cricket has been badly affected by terrorism. This is not an ideal environment for sponsorship and cricket administrators really need to get on top of governance of the game. In South Africa, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the commercial environment is very difficult at the moment with major sponsorship fees generally falling in the past few years. Even the BCCI has had difficulty with its national team rights.


"This is now a crucial period for the sport.  Globally Twenty20 cricket has lost some of its early sparkle, many of the sports' big stars and characters have retired and the calendar is packed with competitions, many of which don't capture the imagination of the fans.  The sport faces a lot of challenges in the coming years.  Globally, sports sponsorship spend is still growing at a fast pace - but cricket cannot take it for granted that it can command such increases."

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