Billionaire Vijay Mallya’s full-service airline Kingfisher Airlines Ltd secured the official umpire partnership rights for the DLF Indian Premier League (IPL), the highly anticipated domestic cricket league launched by the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), paying Rs106 crore for five years.
With these rights, the airline also becomes the sponsor of all third umpire decisions presented on giant television screen during games. Such decisions are made when neither of the two umpires on the ground can conclusively make a call on an appeal against a player.
Apart from the branding of the umpire’s uniform, which will include the company’s logo on shirts and hats, Kingfisher Airlines plans to take the sponsorship to a new level by “changing the way umpires are usually portrayed in a cricket game,” says Vikram Malhotra, general manager, marketing, Kingfisher Airlines. “We want to build on the character of the umpire by adding unique and innovative features to the way they will look and the method in which they will communicate with the audience and cricketers.”
Umpires confer during a 13 March Test match between England and New Zealand in Wellington, New Zealand. Kingfisher’s branding of umpires will include its logo on their shirts and hats
He wouldn’t elaborate.
While Sony Entertainment Television (SET), IPL’s television broadcast partner, is allowing advertisers’ category exclusivity by paying for 50 additional seconds of airtime, the Indian cricket board’s category exclusivity applies mainly to the title sponsors and not so much to other advertisers.
Kingfisher Airlines’ parent, Mallya’s UB Group, is already the owner of the Bangalore team, Royal Challengers, while Kingfisher Airlines is also the official airline partner for IPL and an associate sponsor for the Delhi Daredevils team.
“We want to make sure brand’s visibility extends across every platform and take up every opportunity during the cricket league,” said Malhotra.
So far, the BCCI has signed deals worth some Rs4,332 crore in partnerships.
These deals include real estate developer DLF Ltd as the title sponsor for Rs200 crore for five years; Sony Entertainment Television and sports marketing and management agency World Sports Group (WSG) as media partners for approximately Rs4,000 crore for 10 years; two-wheeler company Hero Honda Motors Ltd as co-sponsor for three years for about Rs20 crore; PepsiCo India Holdings Ltd as beverage partners for Rs6 crore; and Kingfisher’s umpire and airlines partner deals.
We are still signing more partners which will be announced as we go along,” said Sunder Raman, chief executive, IPL. The DLF IPL will start on April 18th with the first match being played between Shah Rukh Khan’s Kolkata Knight Riders and Mallya’s Royal Challengers of Bangalore at the Chinnaswamy Stadium in Bangalore.