New Delhi: B9 Beverages Pvt. Ltd, the maker of Bira 91 beer, signed on Wednesday a five-year global partnership with the International Cricket Council (ICC), making it the first Indian beverage brand to strike a global sponsorship deal with the cricket governing body. Sports marketing experts estimate the size of Bira 91’s sponsorship deal to be $5-6 million per year.

ICC’s global partners, such as carmaker Nissan Motor Co. Ltd, smartphone maker Oppo Co. Ltd, MRF Tyres Ltd and Emirates Airlines are estimated to be paying between $6-8 million a year.

As an official partner, Bira 91 will have a comprehensive presence through their range of products (beer, including non-alcoholic beer, and hot sauce) across broadcast, digital and on-ground activations of all ICC global tournaments, including the 2019 World Cup, T20 World Cup, World Test Championship, U19 World Cup and Women’s World Cup.

The brand will benefit through this partnership as India will host two big-ticket events, including the Cricket World Cup 2023 and T20 World Cup 2021.

For now, Bira is set to leverage the upcoming ICC World Cup scheduled to be hosted by England and Wales next year as it looks to make inroads in the UK market.

“This partnership is aligned with our aspiration of becoming a global brand coming out of India. Everything we are doing right now whether partnerships or expansion are aligned to the strategic goal of filing an IPO by 2023. It will also be a great launch platform for the UK market which we plan to announce in the first half of 2019," said Ankur Jain, founder and chief executive of B9 Beverages.

ICC, which has 104 member countries, signed fintech firm Moneygram as its event partner, Swiss luxury watch brand Hublot as its timing partner and Australian wine brand Wolf Blass as the official wine partner.

Campbell Jamieson, general manager (commercial) at ICC, said that the council is looking at making the game of cricket more relevant for younger and new spectators, including women, by aligning with new-age brands.

“As we started negotiating the agreement with Bira 91, the natural overlaps in their ambitions and ours became obvious. Cricket has more than one billion adult fans and is a natural partner for this ambitious brand. The ICC is delighted to welcome Bira 91 on-board as an official partner and into the world cricketing family, and we look forward to working together for the next five years to deliver a strong partnership at ICC global events," Jamieson said.

For an emerging brand like Bira 91, an ICC partnership would be highly beneficial, said Indranil Das Blah, chief executive of entertainment marketing firm Kwan Entertainment and Marketing Solutions.

“Honestly, there is no bigger platform in India than cricket therefore it makes sense for an emerging brand like Bira 91 to partner with ICC," said Blah.

Bira 91, which raised $50 million in a fresh round of funding from Brussels-based investment firm Sofina in May, is looking to expand in the UK and Vietnam.

Besides India, it has expanded internationally to the US, Singapore, Hong Kong, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain. The company said it expects to expand its production footprint five-fold—from 350,000 barrels now to two million barrels—before the summer of 2019.

ALSO READ | Inside Bira 91’s plan to become a global craft beer brand

The global craft beer market is projected to reach over $502 billion by 2025, according to a report by Grand View Research, Inc. Bira 91 is aiming to corner a rising market which is driven by emerging consumers who are demanding lighter brews and fresher ingredients.

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