Rajasthan Royals sponsors in a spot as charges rock brand IPL

Purvita Chatterjee Meenakshi Verma Ambwani Mumbai | Updated on March 12, 2018

The furore over spot-fixing allegations towards the end of IPL 6 might just ‘unfix’ brand IPL. While sponsors of the Rajasthan Royals team may have reason to worry as all the three accused players belong to the team, brand IPL may once again take a beating.

Spot fixing refers to a portion of the game, like an over or a ball being fixed, as against match fixing, which means the entire match is played to a completely or partially pre-determined result.

“When suspense gets killed in a live game like IPL, the sheen will go away. Money, sponsors, viewership, everything will go if these players are actually proven to be guilty. The tournament may lose its appeal as the suspense associated with cricket is not going to be there,’’ said Harinder Singh, Managing Director, Percept.

‘Viewers feel cheated’

Brand consultant Harish Bijoor said, “Controversies have become an intrinsic part of IPL. It can shake the confidence of the viewers who so passionately watch the matches. The viewers feel cheated if they know that matches are fixed and might just switch off.”

Official sponsors of the Rajasthan Royals team are already reacting to the spot-fixing allegations. “We are in the space of purity. After these allegations of match fixing, there is no choice but to obviously drop all three cricketers from our communication, as we are not allowed to just have a single player like Rahul Dravid (who is not among the accused) endorsing the brand,’’ said Mahesh Gupta, Chairman and Managing Director, Kent RO Systems. The Delhi-based company, a first time associate sponsor this season, had appointed three Rajasthan Royals players including captain Rahul Dravid, Ajinkya Rahane and the alleged wrong-doer Sreesanth to feature in its water purification advertisement.

But more than individual brands riding on the tournament, it is brand IPL which is set to get affected. Sanjay Tripathy, Executive Vice-President Marketing, HDFC Life Insurance, said, “Brand IPL will get more affected than the 200-odd individual brands riding on the tournament. While the brands riding on the team may take a beating, with the corporate brand getting affected, the spotlight will be more on the individual behaviour of the players than the brands which are too big to get impacted right away.’’

HDFC Life has been associate sponsor of the Rajasthan Royals for the past four seasons.

R.K. Arora, Chairman and Managing Director of real estate player Supertech, a sponsor of the team, said such incidents definitely worry the brands investing in teams and the IPL.

But title sponsor Pepsi is optimistic about IPL’s future. PepsiCo India’s spokesperson said, “The matter is under investigation and we are confident that BCCI and the IPL governing council will take appropriate action. We believe in the spirit of fair play in sports and remain committed to the property.”

Published on May 16, 2013

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