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In recent years, the sport and entertainment industry in India has been on the rise, as non-cricketing sports - such as football, kabaddi, tennis, badminton and wrestling - have fast-growing domestic fanbases.

The latest report by GroupM’s specialist business unit ESP Properties (Entertainment & Sports Partnerships) predicts the Top 10 trends in 'sportainment' for 2016.  Here’s the first of a two-part feature from our partner ASN, which covers five of these trends in detail.

Here are the top 5 trends from the report that ASN have given their verdict on.

1) Emerging sports to have elongated presence: Emerging sporting leagues will offer bi-annual schedules or longer seasons to attract and retain audiences and advertisers.

ASN Verdict: DISAGREE. With the popularity of short-format, franchise-based sporting leagues gaining traction in India - following the Indian Premier League's (IPL) benchmark - a longer season might have a mixed reception. While sponsors will have more activation opportunities, brands are incredibly short-termist and tactical in India and contractual issues may arise if they want to trade in and out of the platforms. We also wonder if sporting fans will take to a longer season, given that they are being conditioned by shorter seasons and, in general, attention spans are shrinking in our modern world.

2) Rise of music festivals: Music festivals will continue to create sharp differentiation by focusing on specific genres. They will also create successful IPs independent of established and celebrated artistes and offer brands a round-the-year calendar to engage with audiences.

ASN Verdict: AGREE. 2015 was an epic year for the live music scene in India; indie festivals such as Magnetic Fields and Parvathi Peaking, as well as major ones like Sunburn and Supersonic were all sold-out. It wasn’t a surprise when the South Asian division of Universal Music ventured into this flourishing space with a 50% stake in the diversely curated Enchanted Valley Carnival, one of the most coveted properties in the scene. With the nation’s youth flocking to concerts showcasing a plethora of genres from both international and local musicians last year, organisers are planning for a bumper year in 2016 by signing up some of the biggest global superstars as well as niche indie musicians for gigs in India.

3) Owned media to complement paid media: Brands and studios chasing common target consumers will enter into non-cash deals where brands will offer content creators their platforms and owned media to extend and expand their reach in exchange for the license to co-promote the film(s).

ASN Verdict: AGREE. India’s Creator scene has become one of the most vibrant in the world. Content uploaded on YouTube has doubled last year and is poised for greater growth as the portal opened a studio in Mumbai to allow budding creators and students free access to latest studio facilities. Savvier companies have also seen how Indian millennials are interacting with bloggers and vloggers, and want to successfully latch onto these conversations to better understand their consumers.

4) Shortened, targeted and summarised: Digital will emerge as a powerful dissemination medium for audiences unable to follow live sports or event telecasts. Video clips and short-format videos capturing highlights or key moments will emerge as a new avenue to reach audiences who are pressed for time.

ASN Verdict: NO BRAINER. AGREE. With the proliferation of mobile first penetration and social media platforms in India (particularly in rural markets), it is little surprise bite-sized online videos have become a legitimate form of entertainment in the country. Sports fans are inclined to follow their teams digitally and frequently use smart devices to look up sports-related content during matches, and also engaging in social media conversations about the action.

5) Happy sporting; yours digitally: We will see an increase in the number of online e-sports tournaments being hosted in India. And so will the number of youngsters who actively pursue a career as an e-athlete with an ambition of representing India at various e-sports tournaments on a global platform.

ASN Verdict: DISAGREE. E-sports events and leagues have had a chequered past in Asia in the past. The Samsung-backed World Cyber Games came with a bang a decade ago but never made a big impact outside of hardcore gaming communities. The Indian e-sports scene itself is nothing much to crow about in its present state. Despite strong deal points in the audiences & the aggregate hours of game time in Asia, e-sports has to look beyond product launches and brands have to realise the industry is in its infancy. E-sports - and their partners - have to actively listen to the local gaming community for feedback on where to take the platform.

Click here to read the full article and the remaining five points from Asia Sponsorship News.

Asia Sponsorship News (ASN) is the leading source of industry intelligence for Non-traditional Media (Sponsorship, Branded Content, Native Advertising, Influencer) in Asia. Launched in 2007, ASN had a vision to provide accountability and transparency to a fast-growth communications sector that lacked rigour.

ASN have now developed, via their unrivalled knowledge base, a set of services that allows all sides of the industry to buy, sell and plan Non-traditional Media faster and more effectively, offering specialised intelligence to compliment research houses in the traditional space.

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