Pepsi’s Big Splash

Food and beverage giant PepsiCo's R396.8 crore splurge on the title sponsorship of club cricket property Indian Premier League (IPL) comes as a surprise to many and has once again spurred questions on the rationale behind rising cricket spends in the backdrop of falling cricket ratings. According to the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) which owns IPL, PepsiCo has bagged the rights for a period of five years, starting 2013 and the closest bid came from Aircel, which bid R316 crore.

Farooq Abdullah, chairman of the marketing committee of BCCI, said that the body is pleased to welcome PepsiCo as a central partner. "The value of the winning bid reflects the growth and success of the IPL," he said. IPL governing chairman Rajeev Shukla added that PepsiCo is one of the largest sponsors in world sport. "We look forward to working with them over the next seasons. I would also like to take this opportunity to thank DLF for its confidence in the IPL to become the league's first title sponsor in 2008."

DLF, which had paid R200 crore for the deal in 2008, had decided not to renew their contract in July this year. A sports specialist who declined to be identified said that it was commendable that BCCI had managed to not just get another sponsor but also double the rates. "Most of the teams (franchises) want to exit the IPL. The property has declined greatly both in brand valuations and television ratings. And yet, Pepsi has paid nearly double for the title sponsorship rights," he said.

PepsiCo, on its part, said that this was one of the largest investments made by the company in the game of cricket and that the IPL holds iconic status. Manu Anand, chairman of PepsiCo India region, said that they have succeeded in cementing a five-year partnership between two brands—Pepsi and IPL; both enjoy iconic status not just in India but globally. "With our continuing sponsorship of the ICC World Cup, we are the now biggest supporters of the game of cricket. We have reaffirmed our passion and commitment to cricket and this investment reiterates the importance of India business in the PepsiCo global system," said Anand.

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