Coronavirus: Sponsorship woes for Indian shuttlers

In a communication to the badminton players separately, leading brands of sports gear have told them not to expect any sponsorship fees till November.

Sports around the world has taken a big hit due to the coronavirus pandemic (Representative image).   -  REPRESENTATIONAL PHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES

In a communication to the badminton players separately, leading brands of sports gear have told them not to expect any sponsorship fees till November.

In a letter to one of the Asian-level shutlers, who didn’t want to be named, the top brass of a company said that in view of the COVID-19 lockdown and the grim scenario which had hit the market badly and also the companies in terms of revenue, it is not possible to oblige the commitments made earlier for the next three months.

The big names in badminton draw big bucks while the lower-rung of players are paid Rs. 11,000 per month. The young-and-upcoming talents get about Rs. 3 lakh for three months and those who have made a mark at Asian-level events and Commonwealth Games, depending on their world rankings draw the same amount on a monthly basis.

Moreover, the freezing of the world rankings also didn’t help the players’ cause, it is said.

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“Yes, normally they pay this amount every month and also provide the badminton kit to my child. Now, in this crisis, even this is ruled out. This move may not affect the big players but lesser-ranked players who are targeting improved performances in the post-lockdown scenario at international level will be badly hit,” said a parent.

Significantly, it is also informed that all brands have stopped the scheduled shoots of some of the top players because of the lockdown and apparently keeping their fingers crossed as to how the economic scenario looks once it is lifted.

“As things stand, it is difficult to predict as to how many new sponsors will line up even for the big names for the next six months,” says an official who is into branding the lead shuttlers.

However, some of the top players have been assured of being taken care of their interests by the brands as and when the situation improves so that the equations don’t change much between the sponsors and them.

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