27 Jun

In early 2019 the beverage maker announced a five-year global partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC) estimated at over Rs 300 crore ($40m) as the exclusive non-alcoholic beverage partner. The partnership had been initiated from India and includes all ICC events globally. The investment marked the return of high-profile cricket-related advertising by Coca-Cola after nearly two decades.

Today, however, Coca-Cola India, one of cricket’s biggest sponsors and advertisers in recent times, said it is watching all sport-related developments though overall it will continue to stay invested in cricket.

“We continue to be invested in cricket but we are waiting and watching as the situation unfolds,” a Coca-Cola India spokesperson said.

“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 Indian Premier League (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 closely involved with the developments said.

The India unit of Coca Cola has also been advertising heavily on the IPL T20 tournament both on-air and on-ground. In early March, it had announced a partnership with IPL team Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) as official beverage partner for this year. Industry officials say Coca-Cola was planning extensive on-ground and team sponsorship opportunities in the IPL this year as well.

The outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in either cancelling or deferring all sporting events, including the IPL and the T20 World Cup.

John Stephenson


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