Touted as one of the world's richest sports leagues, the Vivo Indian Premier League (IPL) kicked off in April 2018, drawing the attention of a wide range of big-name sponsorship deals. Indeed, the opening weekend of the 2019 IPL championship attracted 219mn viewers, representing an increase of a third in just one year. These huge crowds present brands with a prime opportunity to associate themselves with a team and leverage its popularity, in order to sell their products.
The IPL has previously signed Tata Motors as the official partner for three years, while smartphone company VIVO has retained the title sponsorship for IPL 2018-22 for a record amount. They bid Rs 2,199 Crores, a 554% increase over the previous contract. Meanwhile, Star India bagged IPL media rights for a record $2.55bn.
The Drum rounds up the biggest partners and sponsors of the eight IPL teams of 2018.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR)
Franchise cricket team KKR, owned by Bollywood actor Shahrukh Khan, named Nokia as the team's lead sponsor for two years.
Nokia aims to leverage KKR for its marketing initiatives to help build its brand in the country having re-launched last year.
Mumbai Indians (MI)
As the 2017 champions, MI was sponsored by the Indian online travel company Goibibo for one year. As part of the deal, Goibibo was featured on the back of the team's jersey this season. Goibibo encouraged fans to download its app in its latest campaign for the team.
Saujanya Shrivastava, group chief marketing officer, MakeMyTrip said: "We are delighted to partner with Mumbai Indians and reach out to millions of IPL and Mumbai Indian fans through this association.
"IPL is one of the most loved and watched sporting events in the country and the association with Mumbai Indians presents a consumer-focused brand like ours a unique opportunity to deepen our engagement with customers in a truly innovative manner."
MI also replaced its previous sponsor, Videocon with Samsung for the next three years.
Royal Challengers Banagalore (RCB)
Technology brand HP was named RCB's principal sponsor. As part of the deal, HP gained major visibility through retail outlets, on-ground activations, the team jersey and was further featured in promotions and activations led by RCB’s team and management. Further, RCB players were likewise visible in HP led promotions/ activations.
RCB players were featured in a tie-in HP commercial.
Sumeer Chandra, managing director, HP Inc. India, said: “HP is proud to be partnering with Royal Challengers Bangalore (RCB) and this association will help us connect with consumers across segments, age groups and geographies in India. I wish Virat Kohli and the RCB team a very successful T20 season and expect this association to provide further impetus to technology adoption in the country.”
RCB also named Duraguard Cement as a principal partner.
Chennai Super Kings (CSK)
The eventual champions of the 2018 IPL tournament, CSK inked a three year deal with The Muthoot Group making it the team's principal partner.
Other sponsors of the reigning champions included Gulf Oil, Equitas Small Finance Bank, HIL, Nippon Paint, Frooti and Act Fibernet.
Kings XI Punjab (KXIP)
Water purifier brand Kent Ro was Kings XI Punjab's title sponsor for IPL's 11th season.
Meanwhile, personal care brand Fena agreed to sponsor KXIP. As part of the deal, all jerseys and merchandise of Kings XI Punjab were required to carry Fena's logo.
Fena scored further in-stadium presence on match days, as well as guaranteed brand exposure at the Kings XI Punjab's home grounds - IS Bindra Stadium, Mohali and Holkar Cricket Stadium, Indore.
GMR Group partnered with JSW Sports for a 50:50 partnership in GMR Group's IPL franchisee Delhi Daredevils owned by GMR Sports Private Limited (GSPL). GSPL is owned by the promoters of the GMR Group.
Express parcel service provider DTDC also announced its association as the official logistics partner with Delhi Daredevils (DD) team. DTDC was responsible for delivering as well as overseeing the entire back-end logistics operations for the team. The brand's logo was made visible on the lead trouser of the DD playing jersey.
Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH)
Paint brand Nerolac extended its partnership with SRH as an official sponsor during the 2018 championship. The brand was visible on the helmets of the Sunrisers Hyderabad players.
Anuj Jain, director, Decorative, Kansai Nerolac Paints said, “The growing impact of IPL continues to give us great confidence in the potential of the league to impact lives at large. Last year, our association with the Sunrisers Hyderabad created a fair amount of value for us and we are excited to announce our continued association with the team. We wish the players the best for this season and are sure that the team will continue to grow from strength to strength.”
Meanwhile, Indian online ticketing platform BookMyShow was the official IPL ticketing partner for the IPL teams Chennai Super Kings, Kolkata Knight Riders, Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals.
The interface managed the end-to-end fan experience. BookMyShow controlled over 50% of the entire ticket inventory during the season.