Royal Challengers Bangalore arrive in Dubai for IPL 13
Members of Royal Challengers Bangalore arrived in Dubai on Friday for the IPL 2020. Image Credit: Antonin K Kallouche/Gulf News

Dubai: Indian Premier League, whose title-sponsorship value had taken a hit with the withdrawal on Chinese mobile phone manufacturers VIVO recently, suffered another blow when retail conglomerate Future Group also pulled out of BCCI’s central sponsorship list.

A PTI report says Future Group has been forced to pull out as the company is reportedly on the verge of a takeover and has suffered losses due to the prevailing hostile economic climate in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Yes, Future Group has pulled out of IPL central sponsorship and that’s the reason their logo has been removed from the IPL website. At this point of time, I won’t like to elaborate on the development,” a BCCI source said.

When a Future Group official was contacted, he refused to comment but industry insiders confirmed that the pullout was on cards because of the financial health of the company.

“Future Group has been in bad shape since the start of COVID-19. It was bound to happen that they wouldn’t have been able to spend Rs 40 crore to be a part of BCCI’s central sponsorship pool. Hence, the pullout is not a surprise,” the source said.

“Right now, the Future Group is going through a restructuring phase and there are talks with multi-national conglomerates about its potential takeover in the next few weeks. So sponsoring sporting events at the moment wasn’t top priority for Future Group,” he added.

It is learnt that education-technology company Unacademy, which lost the IPL title sponsorship bid to fantasy gaming firm Dream 11, is in line to become one of the official sponsors along with credit card payment app Cred. The IPL website currently shows only four sponsors: Dream11 as title sponsors along with Tata Motors (Altroz), PayTM and Ceat tyres.

“We know it’s not an ideal situation but you can’t blame BCCI for this. There is a financial crisis. If franchises have earned and made gains during good times, they understand and stand by BCCI during troubled times,” a senior official of a franchise said.

Digital partners for CSK

Meanwhile, three-time IPL champions Chennai Super Kings roped in Fast & Up, a India-based sports & active nutrition brand as their official Nutrition Partner-Digital on Monday. The Mahendra Singh Dhoni-led Chennai team are now in quarantine in Dubai before getting down to practice sessions.

Having already established itself as one of the leading sports & active nutrition brands which has re-imagined intelligent nutrition and dietary supplementation in the country within five years of its inception, this new partnership with the Chennai Super Kings is aimed at further broad-basing the brand’s wide range of effervescent flagship products.

Speaking about their association with the Chennai Super Kings, Vijayaraghavan Venugopal, CEO of Fast & Up said: “We, at Fast & Up, are delighted to have inked this historic partnership with MS Dhoni-led Chennai Super Kings. Cricket is one of the most fondly celebrated sports in our country, and we are proud to have formed this association with a champion franchise in the Chennai Super Kings, who are filled with energetic and ambitious world-class athletes.’’

“We are excited to have active nutrition brand Fast&Up as our official Nutrition Partner- Digital for the upcoming season. Fast&Up is a trusted brand with a wide range of products that help boost health, immunity and fitness,” CSK CEO KS Viswanathan said.