Those who had forecast that the global financial meltdown was knocking on the doors on Indian cricket as well seem to have got their predictions all wrong.
Weeks after team owners of the lucrative Indian Premier League (IPL) splurged big bucks on new players for the coming season,a whole lot of fresh investment is headed for the superhit Twenty20 Championship.
In a landmark development for the eight-team IPL carnival,the Shah Rukh Khan-owned Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) has managed to sign in multinational soft drink major Coca Cola for the forthcoming second edition of the two-month-long tournament.
The move to rope in the popular soft drink giant for the IPL is a major breakthrough for the Indian cricket Board,which has been constantly battling rumours of fast-receding sponsorships in the wake of the global economic slowdown.
KKR is among the more popular teams of the IPL,with the Bollywood Baadshah Shah Rukh’s electric presence playing a key role behind the team’s soaring fan following.
Earlier this month,Knight Riders’ franchisee paid out an eye-popping Rs 3 crore to buy little-known Bangladesh speedster Mashrafe bin Mortaza. However,amidst speculation that the KKR management will struggle to make ends meet when the tournament approaches,the franchisee roped in a major sponsor,with other heavyweight IPL franchisees desperately looking out for big-time sponsors.
KKR co-owner Jay Mehta,husband of Bollywood actress Juhi Chawla and one of the brains behind the team’s management,candidly admitted that the deal with Coke’s Sprite came as a pleasant surprise.
He said: “From the time of its inception last year,Kolkata Knight Riders has far exceeded the expectation of competitors and compatriots in terms of our fan following and the success of our brand and business. With this,I am confident we will together provide more enhanced experiences to our fans and consumers.”
Sourav Ganguly & Co will be seen donning the Sprite logo on their colourful jerseys when the second edition of the IPL gets underway on April 10.