The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) recently named MPL Sports, the “ athleisure wear” and sports merchandise brand from Mobile Premier League, as the new kit sponsor and official merchandise partner for the Indian cricket team.
As part of the three-year deal - from November 2020 to December 2023 - the Indian senior team, women’s team and the U-19 team will don the new kits. The company’s association with the BCCI begins with India’s tour of Australia, which begins in Sydney on Friday.
Abhishek Madhavan, senior vice-president (Growth and Marketing), MPL, says that the partnership with the BCCI will help the company reach to the masses.
“Cricket is a great medium to reach the masses in India. The proposition is lucrative for gaming companies across categories as they can connect with their target audiences via cricket. Cricket is the only property that cuts across the entirety of the country,” Madhavan told Sportstar via email.
'Sports apparel brand of choice'
“As a gaming platform that offers a variety of games, and with MPL Sports aiming to be a merchandise and sports apparel brand of choice, associating with the Indian cricket team and IPL teams will help establish MPL Sports with sports lovers across the country and the world…”
MPL entered into the cricketing market last year, when it was one of the broadcast sponsors of the Indian Premier League. This time, too, it sponsored two teams – Kolkata Knight Riders and Royal Challengers Bangalore – one of which (RCB) is captained by Virat Kohli, the brand ambassador of the entity. “The IPL is the biggest media property in India and any brand associated with it becomes a household name. We have been able to reach a vast number of people all over the country with the IPL.”
Apart from the Team India jerseys, MPL Sports also plans to sell licensed Team India merchandise “at affordable prices.”
“The biggest challenge right now is that despite over a billion cricket fans in the country, the merchandise and jersey sales are paltry in comparison. This is due to multiple factors like pricing, availability and abundance of fake replicas in the market. We aim to make affordable Team India merchandise available to the masses by partnering with the right e-commerce and retail players,” he said.
MPL, which has over six core users, has investors in SIG, Sequoia India, Go-Ventures, RTP Global, MDI, Base Partners, BeeNext, Venture Highway and Times Internet. According to Madhavan, it has “raised a latest round of USD 90 million in September this year, taking the valuation to about USD 450 million.”
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