As sponsorship woes surrounded the postponed Indian Premier League (IPL), with major sponsor Vivo in jeopardy following the clash of Indian and Chinese forces in the disputed territory, another top sponsor and the league’s biggest advertisers – Coca-Cola – is reportedly parting contract with the league as the thirteenth edition of the IPL is still in dilemma.
The cash-rich Twenty20 competition, due to begin on March 29 and pushed back to April 15, was postponed indefinitely in April due to the ongoing threats of the coronavirus pandemic. Despite efforrts of the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) for looking at the perfect window to stage a delayed edition, the tournament is likely to lose their partnership due to losses.
“The April-June quarter accounts for nearly half of annual soft drink sales in India, and remains the peak advertising and marketing window for soft drinks makers, coinciding with both IPL and the ICC World Cup. Even if the IPL is held later in the year, Coca-Cola may scale down exposure to cricket, in a reversal of its earlier plans,” an industry official updated on the development.
Along With Star Sports, as the on-air co-presenting sponsors for the IPL 2019, Coca cola spend ₹ 135 crores. Prior to the unprecedented events, the beverage giants was in talks with the broadcaster to renew the on-air partnership and had also signed an official beverage partnership with IPL team, Kolkata Knight Riders. However, those plans might push through as the brand will reportedly drop the IPL 2020.
Coca cola was also in partnership with International Cricket Council (ICC). But the sources in the company suggested that they will retain the contract with ICC. “ICC for us is a long term deal and we will stay committed to the same,” claimed by one of the lead executive of the company. The BCCI, who looks for September-October window for the league to commence, is yet to comment in this matter.
According to reports, the BCCI has spoken to all the franchises, media partners and other stakeholders of IPL and came up as September 26 to November 8 as the window to host the lucrative cricket league. Previously, the BCCI president Sourav Ganguly said that they are “optimistic” about the return of cricket as the governing “will shortly decide on the future course of action on this”.
In regards to the Chinese sponsorship, the governing body has changed its stand on Chinese sponsors shortly after BCCI Treasurer Arun Dhumal had said that the BCCI had no plans to revisit the IPL and BCCI sponsorship deals. Aside from IPL title sponsor VIVO, the mobile phone manufacturer, online fantasy game entity Dream11 — an associate sponsor of BCCI and IPL — has Chinese investment.
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