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    Master Strokes : Continued Growth & Evolution Of Sports

    • 25.04.2023
    • By Vinit Karnik

    In this Industry Spotlight with Creative First, Vinit Karnik, Head – Sports, Esports and Entertainment GroupM South Asia joined Lohita Sujith, Sr. Director, Copyright & Digital Economy, Motion Picture Association. With more than 25 years of experience, Vinit gave us insight into the overlap of sports, content, and film.

    He started by praising the growth of the ecosystems, partnerships, and content consumption transformations enabling the growth of sports.

    He dissected the rights of IPL, calling this the “Year of Discovery” being that this is the first year that the rights are split for TV and digital. According to him, we will understand audience data in the coming weeks.

    Diversification of sports from only cricket to include emerging sports is what was discussed next. While cricket still holds more than 80% of the market, he acknowledged Kabadi for its traction. He also named football and badminton as sports to watch.

    Vinit then discussed the changes in policy as they pertain to games. He identified three types of gaming: casual gaming, real money gaming, and fantasy gaming.

    He mentioned that he would like India to look more at the publisher space. He said the games played today are primarily not Indian. He identified three components to gaming: platform, publisher, and the gamer. He said that India’s doing great at platform and gamer, but attention needs to be given to India-made games.

    Several initiatives like Khelo India, the Fit India movement, and other investments from both the private and public sectors have been undertaken to encourage the growth of sports. He stated that year-on-year medal growth at Asian Games and other such international competitions is evidence that this is paying off.

    Vinit also shared takeaways from GroupM’s India Sports Sponsorship report, namely that in 2022, the sports industry has grown over 49% from 2021 resulting in a growth of 14,209 crores. Of this, 53% was spent on media spending. The growth in sports endorsements has shooted up from 625 crores to 749 crores. Overall, he asserted that from 2021 to 2022, there is a consistent rise across all data points.

    This led to discussions about how brands are seeing new ways to engage with their audiences, such as what happened at Lollapalooza India through interactive mediums. He highlighted the benefits of interacting above interrupting.

    Students are required to engage in sports in the west and if the same happens more in India, more sports stars and sports-industry related growth will happen. This is something that he underlined as important for the government to focus on.

    Vinit advised young professionals to look at sports as a holistic sector, and to understand that sports management is a big crossover to the event sector. They should look beyond the glamor to find their place within the larger ecosystems.

    Overall, Vinit gave viewers hope for the future of Sports, Esports, and Entertainment and the potential of partnerships and sponsorships.


    Vinit Karnik

    Vinit Karnik is a highly accomplished professional with more than 25 years of experience in Media, Entertainment, and Sports Management. He is currently the Head of Sports, Esports, and Entertainment for the South Asian markets at GroupM ESP. At GroupM he has been at the forefront of high profile, high-value sponsorship and consulting deals in the business of sports and entertainment. Under him, GroupM witnessed the launch of thought leadership for Indian sports and entertainment reports titled ‘Sporting Nation in the Making’ and ‘Showbiz’ respectively. He specializes in formulating and directing strategies to promote products and services, steering marketing investment towards delivering business results for clients based on valuation and return of investments. Before joining GroupM in 2006, he was a part of the film fraternity in Mumbai, heading the film production & distribution business of Padmalaya Telefilms and Prasad Film Labs post production studio.