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The Roaring Sporting 20s India Leads the Way in Innovation and Engagement

Report by Tim Mulligan, Alistair Taylor and Srishti Das
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The 20,000 Foot View: Touted as the home of the next billion online consumers, India’s rapid adoption of digital media services has been driven by the explosion in smartphone adoption over the last few years. While per capita smartphone penetration still significantly lags behind developed markets, India’s        billion population means that it now has the second largest global smartphone user base after China. In a sports-obsessed country, much of the attention of this vast mobile audience is now being captured by both established traditional sports and newly emerging digitally-native esports and fantasy leagues. Where India goes, the rest of the world is likely to follow as the imminent D-Day for sports rights changes the dynamics of revenue versus reach. Global sports engagement in the        is likely to be heavily shaped by what emerges in the Indian market over the coming years.

Key Insights

  • India is growing as a sporting nation, with athletes performing across different international sports outside of cricket like kabaddi, motorsports, basketball, chess etc.
  • Cricket’s continuous dominance has played a huge part in making the sport the phenomenon that it is, and Star India’s securing of the India Premier League (IPL) rights has turbocharged its OTT offering, Hotstar
  • Star India reported peak viewership of        million for the 2019 IPL final on Hotstar, increasing        compared to the        million viewership in 2018
  • Following the ICC Cricket World Cup semi-final between India and New Zealand, Hotstar holds the world record for largest concurrent peak streaming audience at        million
  • In a country that lives and swears by cricket, there is now no way to watch it without paying 
  • Hotstar is available in over        languages, emphasising the complexity of the Indian market – which live sport is able to cut through
  • Fantasy sports are rising fast in popularity, with IPL fantasy league        growing its player base from        million users in 2015 to over        million in 2020
  • A rapidly emerging esports ecosystem is rising on the back of the explosion in digitally-native activity
  • India offers a glimpse into sports’ digital future – low margins but vastly enlarged fanbases

Companies and brands mentioned in this report: Airtel,        Century Fox, Star India, Disney+, Vivo Indian Premier League, Dream        Indian Premier League, Jio, Reliance, IMG, BAARC, Hotstar, Pro Kabaddi League, Disney, Star Sports, Sony Pictures Network, SonyLiv, JioTV, AirtelTV, IMG Reliance, Indian Super League, WWE, English Premier League, Redmi, OPPO, Vivo, Micromax, Reliance Industries, Vodafone, ZeeTV,       

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