Spot-fixing scandal: Fearing hit to brand image, Pepsi mulls IPL pullout

Two days after Sahara pulled its team Pune Warriors India out of the IPL, the BCCI was staring at the possibility of a second, bigger setback.

Title sponsor PepsiCo is learnt to have informed the Indian cricket board that it is reviewing its association with the IPL.

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The current season is the first of PepsiCo's five-year contract with BCCI. Top officials of both the board and the soft drinks major told The Indian Express that the company would make an assessment after the tournament gets over this weekend.

PepsiCo bought the title rights for the IPL for Rs 396.8 crore for five years, pipping Airtel, which offered Rs 316 crore. But the first season of their involvement has run into damaging allegations of spot-fixing and the pullout of the Warriors. Sources said PepsiCo is concerned about the possible negative rub-off on its brand image, especially after having paid so much for the rights.

"The reputation of the IPL is taking a hit and at the same time it represents a huge cost for us for five years. The earlier sponsor, DLF, paid Rs 200 crore, while we are paying nearly 400 crore for five years," said a top PepsiCo official on condition of anonymity.

A BCCI official said they were working to keep the sponsor back. "The talks are still on and we are confident that Pepsi will be with us. They have told us that the image of IPL has been tarnished, and their head office feels that they don't want to be associated with controversies. They feel costs are high and returns are low."

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