Nirav Tomar, founder and managing director of IOS Sports, which has received more than Rs 100 crores of sponsorship from Olympic and other non-cricket sports over the past five years, said big brands are showing a lot of interest.
He told ET that it took some time for sponsors to move beyond cricket, but now things have changed. “There is a huge amount of interest when we get together and talk about the Commonwealth, the Asian Games and the Olympics. We are confident that we can get sponsorship deals worth Rs 100-120 crore,” he said.
The Indian Olympic Association (IOA) and the Indian Athletics Federation (AFI) are the only ones working with IOS Sports.
For the Olympic Games in Tokyo, IOA attracted 13 sponsors and partners – Adani Group, Amul,
Group, MPL-Sports Foundation, Herbalife, Nippon Paint, JSW and Sports For All have earned over Rs 20 crore, 40% more than IOA’s total sponsorship deals at the 2016 Rio Olympics. the deals were facilitated by IOS Sports.
While this number may seem small in the overall sports sponsorship ecosystem, it is a significant amount considering it only includes Olympic sports.
“We’re thrilled to be a leader in the non-cricket space.” “Cricket has over 500 agents and companies doing a very good job. So we don’t want to be another agency in this space. This is a position we took a long time ago,” Tomar said.
Tomar, who was a top level squash player, founded IOS Sports and Entertainment in 2005 and signed Indian boxer Wijender Singh as first talent. Today the company cooperates with more than 60 athletes in 12 disciplines, including MC Mary Kom (boxing), Manpreet Singh (hockey), Saih Mirabai Chanu (weightlifting), Lovlina Borgohain (boxing), Hima Das (athletics), Rani Rampal. (Hockey) and recently signed badminton players Druv Kapila and Ishaan Bhatnagar. He also manages Paralympic Games medalists such as Nishad Kumar (high jump) and Manoj Sarkar (badminton).
“When we started, there was no market. The commercialization of cricketers started with Sachin in the late 90s organized by the World Sports Group, but talent management finally came to other athletes after Tokyo, when finally people realized that there was a market and recognition for Olympians even if they didn’t get medals,” Tomar said. “Now even would-be medallists are making deals, and thanks to technology and the rapid growth of social media and smartphones, the whole side of the influencer business has grown in ways that were unimaginable in 2015.”
Tomar claims that seven of the 18 Olympic medals won by India since 2008 have been won by iOS athletes, including Wijender Singh, who won India’s first boxing medal in 2008.
IOS Sports has been able to sign contracts with top brands such as Adidas, Nike, Tata, Puma,
Pepsi and for its athletes.
Going forward, IOS Sports plans to develop its events business, including boxing under its subsidiary IOS Boxing.
The company has announced plans to host boxing competitions in India, the US, the UK and other countries. However, after the first event in Goa, the pandemic put the plans on hold.
“We plan to have regular boxing shows because it’s our experience that no one else has, and we have a global network for it. It is also a sport that generates a lot of excitement and has the potential to grow. We have plans to hold regular fight nights. like a monthly show,” he said.