ESPN, Airtel in Rs120 cr deal for five years

ESPN, Airtel in Rs120 cr deal for five years

India’s largest mobile phone services provider, Bharti Airtel Ltd, has signed on as the title sponsor of the Champions League Twenty20 cricket event for a sum of Rs120 crore for five years with broadcaster ESPN Software India Pvt. Ltd, a senior executive from a media buying company said. The executive did not want to be named because he is involved in negotiations with advertisers.

ESPN and Airtel confirmed the partnership, but did not comment on the value of the deal. The Champions League is the world championship for domestic Twenty20 club champions. The tournament is scheduled to take place 8-23 October.

In September last year, ESPN won all commercial rights to the tournament, including on-ground and on-air rights for $900 million (around Rs4,365 crore today) for 10 years. “We are currently in advanced talks with a few advertisers on sponsorship deals on-ground and have begun initial talks for broadcast deals," said R.C. Venkateish, managing director of ESPN. The broadcaster is looking for some six on-ground associations.

While Venkateish did not disclose names, the media buyer confirmed that advertisers such as Hero Honda Motors Ltd, Nokia India Pvt. Ltd, Coca- Cola India Inc., PepsiCo India Holdings Pvt. Ltd and Hyundai Motor India Ltd are currently in the race for on-ground sponsorships.

The Champions League is controlled by the Board of Control for Cricket in India, Cricket Australia and Cricket South Africa. The tournament that carries a prize money of $6 million will be played across three venues—Bangalore, New Delhi and Hyderabad.

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