01 Sep

Indian tyre manufacturer BKT Tyres has agreed sponsorship deals with six Indian Premier League teams covering this year’s tournament.

BKT Tyres will sponsor reigning champions Mumbai Indians, as well as Chennai Super Kings, Delhi Capitals, Kings XI Punjab, Kolkata Knight Riders and Rajasthan Royals.

This year’s IPL is taking place in the United Arab Emirates and will start on September 19.

BKTs’ joint managing director Rajiv Poddar said, “We are a keen supporter of several national sports all around the globe, but it fills me with immense pleasure that we are now supporting such a significant sporting event of India.”

BKT also has sponsorship deals with Australian T20 tournament the Big Bash League, Spanish football’s LaLiga, Italian football’s Serie B, and French football’s Ligue 2. It sponsored eight of the 12 teams in India’s Pro Kabaddi League last year.

In India, BKT has been advised on its sponsorship strategy by sports marketing agency IMG Reliance.

BKT’s deals are the latest in a series of sponsorships agreed by the Board of Control for Cricket in India and teams ahead of this year’s IPL.

Preparations for the tournament have become fraught, with new Covid-19 measures in Abu Dhabi delaying the release of the match schedule and 13 members of one team testing positive for the virus. Yesterday, a member of the production crew for host broadcaster Star India was reported to have tested positive for Covid-19, forcing the company to postpone the arrival in the UAE of the rest of its staff.

The franchise teams are putting pressure on the BCCI to release the schedule, and one franchise, Delhi Capitals, is reported to be demanding compensation for losses incurred this year.

The Times of India reported that the franchises sent a series of questions along with a presentation to the BCCI estimating that each team will lose around Rs46 crore ($6.2m) this year. The newspaper quoted a source at the board that questioned the loss estimate and said each team would be earning Rs150 crore ($20m) this year. The source said the board would address all the teams’ queries, which include questions around the consequences when a player tests positive for Covid-19 during the tournament, as well as who will pay for match operations costs and how many friends and family can owners bring to watch games, among others.

John Stephenson


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